NFU Scotland has written to the UK government calling for 'immediate action' as the labour crisis affecting the agricultural, food and drink sectors deepens.
In its letter to Kevin Foster MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, the union highlighted the 'huge losses' some firms are experiencing.
A shortage of both permanent and seasonal workers, combined with a lack of haulage drivers and processing staff, is currently having a detrimental impact on businesses in Scotland.
In the letter, NFU Scotland called for a 12-month Covid recovery visa for the supply chain to deal with these pressures on the industry and allow employers to expand recruitment to EU and other overseas workers.
It also asked the UK government to commission an urgent review by the Migration Advisory Committee on the needs of the agricultural, food and drink sectors.
In the past week, food and drink organisations have written to both UK and Scottish governments calling for action on tackling the labour crisis ahead of the crucial Christmas season.
It comes as Scottish grower co-operative East of Scotland Growers recently described how labour and haulage issues had already seen four million heads of broccoli and cauliflower wasted.
Andrew Faichney, Managing Director, said: "Our losses to date are somewhere in the region of 2,500,000 heads of broccoli and 1,500,000 heads of cauliflower – half of which will have been harvested then dumped out of store, with the other half being ploughed in.
"Ignoring harvesting, haulage, and packaging, this carries a direct growing cost of somewhere in the region of £1.1 million.
"This cost will continue to rise as we go through this week until the freezing of our crops can begin."
NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy urged the UK government to act as the current disruption would 'only worsen'.
"The ramifications are already in plain sight, focussed on empty supermarket shelves, and the impacts are now being felt by consumers," he said.
“The implications of this ongoing shortage for business and the economy have been steadily building and the impact can no longer be absorbed by farmers and the food and drink industry.
“NFU Scotland calls on government to take immediate action on labour to ensure that agriculture can continue to sustainably produce high quality food and drink for our country and our exports.
"This is vital for our farmers, rural communities, the wider supply chain and for our consumers.”