In 2017 the farmgate value of Horticultural output was €433m. The key crops in the Food Horticulture sector include Mushrooms, Potatoes, Field Vegetables, Outdoor Fruit and Protected Crops which have a combined value of €379m. The key crops in the Amenity Horticulture sector include Nursery Stock Production, Protected Flowers/Ornamentals, Christmas Trees, Cut Foliage and Bulbs which have a total value of €63m.
The key market for the Horticultural Industry is the domestic market. The main outlet for fresh produce is the domestic retail market which is valued at €1.54bn. The other notable outlet for fresh produce is the foodservice sector which is valued at €396m at wholesale prices.
The top 10 vegetable crops (including salad lines) purchased in the retail market in value terms are Tomato (€112m); Carrots (€63m); Peppers (€58m); Mushrooms (€56m); Broccoli (€33m); Onions (€33m); Lettuce (€30m); Cucumbers (€17m); Cabbage (€16m); Spring Onion (€10m) – 75% value of the vegetable sector of the market (source: Kantar Worldpanel).
There are estimated to be 540 commercial potato growers in Ireland, produced from approximately 9,122 hectares. The Rooster accounts for 61% of potatoes grown, while other main crop varieties include Kerrs Pink, Queens and Golden Wonder. Potatoes are Ireland’s most popular main meal carbohydrate, bought by 1.71m households annually. The retail value of the potato market in Ireland is €195m.
Field Vegetables & Protected Crops
The farmgate value of the field vegetable sector was €68m in 2017. The top six crops in output value terms are Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Parsnips, Swedes and Scallions which make up two thirds of the farmgate value. The area of field vegetables grown in RoI is estimated at 4,590 hectares from about 200 growers.
The indoor protected vegetable/salad sector had an output value estimated at €28m in 2017 with the key crops including Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cucumbers and Herbs. Most of this output is destined for the Irish retail market.
Mushroom output has grown in the last number of years and now stands at 64,000 tonnes. Exports to the UK have increased strongly in the last number of years and account for some three quarters of the domestic production valued at €90m.
Fruit is the largest fresh produce category for consumers at retail level valued at €768m. Apples and strawberries are the two main fruit crops produced in Ireland from a growing area of 330 hectares. The retail market for strawberries is now worth €101m.
The amenity sector consists of hardy nursery stock, bedding plants, bulbs, cut flowers/foliage and turf grass grown by 171 producers in the sector.
The market for amenity products and services offered by this sector is focused to a large extent on the domestic market. The retail market is serviced by Garden Centres, DIY shops, Lifestyle centres and supermarkets.
In 2017 Bord Bia research estimated the value of the gardening retail market at €631m. In addition the commercial gardening and landscape market which includes landscape designers & contractors is an important part of this sector.
Exports of amenity horticulture crops were valued at €17.9m in 2017 which primarily includes nursery stock, Christmas trees, cut foliage and bulbs. Most export sales are achieved in the UK.