A first speed dating organized for the agricultural sector in Montauban

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At the Pavillon Sapiac Rural Master in Montauban, in the Tarn-et-Garonne, the first speed dating organized by Pôle emploi and Greater Montauban aimed to bring together farmers and jobseekers, to remedy the lack of manpower.

“All the farmers we called answered present,” says Antoinette Balocco, facilitator at the National Association for Employment and Training in Agriculture in the Tarn-et-Garonne (Anefa 82). In fact, to remedy the labor shortage in the agricultural sector, twelve farmers and three training institutions welcomed around 200 job seekers.

For this first edition of speed dating, it was Pôle emploi who took the initiative, joined by Grand Montauban, CAP emploi, Anefa 82 and Missione Locale. “We have tried to focus on the locality, inviting only agricultural actors from the province of Montauban to avoid transport problems”, explains Régis Ollier, director of Pôle emploi Alba Nord, before adding: “there are needs above all in the harvest, therefore for the period August September, but not only. And so much versatility”.

Mixed results among recruiters

If Régis Ollier is satisfied with the crowding of the forum, the arborist Luc Quercy is more critical, without surprise: “There was no pool of job seekers. Out of twenty requests, only three were really motivated, including one who I will hire because he touched me and I have the impression that he deserves it. Some people who come to the forum are there to fill out forms for participation. It is the same problem that arises. No one wants to reap the rewards, and those who do not have a car… But the orchards aren’t in the city!”

Another arborist adds: “If we don’t host them, we won’t find them. We will still have to resort to contracts from the French Immigration and Integration Office (Ofii).”

“It would take 22,000” people

However, as Damien Garrigues, president of the Departmental Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FDSEA) reveals, these types of contracts that introduce foreign labor are inevitable. “Probably 4,000 people will work in the agricultural sector in Montauban, but 22,000 are needed. Also, we need to stop saying that people don’t want to work, they have family ties, forcing them to arbitrate between being satisfied with unemployment benefits or working an hour from home, every day. We need to understand them.”

Again according to Damien Garrigues, “the agricultural environment suffers from an incorrect and degrading image”, so it is all a matter that needs to be reconstructed to make this area attractive.

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