In a video posted on Twitter, Charles, heir to the British throne, asked people to take on the task of “not sparkling” picking fruits and vegetables to help farmers.
“At this time with great uncertainty, many of our normal routines and regular lifestyles are being challenged,” he told the camera, promoting the British government’s Pick For Britain campaign, which seeks to recruit students or people who have been on leave.
“If we want to harvest British fruit and vegetables this year, we need an army of people to help,” he said.
The Duke of Cornwall, 71, compared prospective pickers with World War II Army Soldiers, where women and girls volunteered or conscripted to do agricultural work after many men left the country to fight.
“In the coming months, thousands of people will be needed to bring crops. This will be a difficult graft but it is very important if we want to avoid plants that grow into waste,” he said.
While the prince acknowledged that the work would be “unattractive” and “sometimes, challenging,” he told viewers that it was “the most important” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus travel restrictions have caused a labor crisis for the UK agricultural sector which has traditionally been dependent on seasonal migrant workers from Europe.
The British government had previously said it was working with industry to help fill in what was estimated by the National Farmers’ Union of around 70,000 seasonal worker roles.