Careers in Horticulture

Careers information on the many areas of Irish Horticulture

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Introduction to Protected Vegetable Sector

Protected vegetable production includes vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and other vegetables grown under glass and polythene protected structures. It excludes vegetable crops that are grown outdoors without protection. The key trend in the protected vegetable sector is increasing production area but decreasing production value. Overall, production area in 2012 is 190 hectares, a 14% increase since the last census (166 hectares in 2008). Grower numbers have increased slightly, from 67 in 2008 to 73 in 2012. Production value of protected vegetables has, however, decreased 17% since the last census, from €25.2 million in 2008 to €21.0 million in 2012. 92% of protected vegetable production area is under glass and 8% is under polythene structures. 69% of protected vegetable production area is in county Dublin.

Tomatoes are the most important protected vegetable crop in terms of value. The number of tomato growers increased from 21 growers in 2008 to 38 growers in 2012. However, both production area and value have declined. Production area in 2012 is 10 hectares (14 hectares in 2008) and production value is €6.9 million (€9.2 million in 2008). Of the total of 38 tomato growers, the largest five growers account for 77% of protected tomato production area. 94% of protected tomato production is under glass and 6% is under polythene structures.

Lettuce is the second most important protected vegetable crop in terms of value. The number of lettuce growers has also increased, from 24 growers in 2008 to 32 growers in 2012. Lettuce production area is relatively unchanged at 118 hectares in 2012 (113 hectares in 2008) but production value has decreased by 19%, from €7.4 million in 2008 to €6.0 million in 2012. Of the total of 32 lettuce growers, the largest five growers account for 74% of protected tomato production area. 99% of protected lettuce production is under glass and 1% is under polythene structures.

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