Shortage of berry soup and yoghurt in Finland if Thai berry-pickers banned


Thai citizens make up a large part of the berry-pickers in Finland and the recent ban on visas for Thai berry-pickers can create a shortage in berry soup and yoghurt. In the previous summers Thai nationals made up 80-90 percent of the workforce and it can be difficult to replace the workers this harvest seasons.

Operations manager Birgitta Partanen at the industry organisation Arkiset Aromat said to the Finish media outlet yle, that the decision to ban visas for Thai national berry-pickers came as a shock to the industry and that they do not yet have a plan as to how to replace them. According to yle, the industry expected for the old visa system to continue this year until a new permanent system is created. Birgitta Partanen says the industry is trying to hire domestic laborers to cover the vacant positions, but not enough are willing to take the jobs, as the pay is low by Finnish standards.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland took the decision earlier this year to not grant visas for Thai berry-pickers this summer harvest season after widespread allegations of subjecting the workers to abuse and conditions that violate human dignity. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs point at the violations being systematic within the berry-picking industry and therefore being a sector-wide issue.

A wide ranging investigation resulted in the managing director of the carrier Kiantemas and the former managing director of Polarica Marjahankinta Oy have being charged with cases of serious human trafficking. The director is also suspected of exploiting the workers for forced labor. Furthermore the carrier company Arctic Group is also suspected of human trafficking.


About Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen

Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen

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