Clear Rules Precondition for Successful Berry-Picking

A study conducted by the Lappea Research Institute of the University of Lapland notes that foreign berry-pickers will be needed in Finland in the future, too, but improving the berry-pickers’ position requires clearer rules.

“The sector has the prerequisites for operations, but in order to work better, it needs more efficient self-regulation and active development of the preconditions for picking work,” says Researcher Pekka Rantanen.

“Coming to Finland as a picker is more challenging than I thought. A successful berry-picking trip requires that other people working in the sector also act systematically and appropriately,” Rantanen continues.

The research project was co-financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and the Ministry of the Interior. Financing was also received from the EU External Borders Fund.

The research project was launched on the recommendation issued by the then Ombudsman for Minorities Johanna Suurpää in December 2009. Jarno Valkonen, D.Soc.Sc., was responsible for the research project, and the researcher was Pekka Rantanen, M.Soc.Sc.

Berry-pickers from Thailand, who have been a particular focus of public attention, were selected as the study group. This year about 2,700 Thai berry-pickers worked in Finland. Of them 2,400 picked wild berries and the remaining 300 worked on Finnish berry farms.

According to statistics, each year roughly 12,000 berry-pickers from countries with visa requirements arrive in Finland. Of them, about 8,000 have worked at berry farms and the rest have picked wild berries by virtue of everyman’s right. Russians are the largest group of visa-holding pickers in Finland. Pickers have also come to Finland from countries such as Ukraine, Belarus and Vietnam.

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