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Market Analysis: Basic UK Horticultural Statistics 2014

04 August 2014

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published its latest annual statistics on the area, production, trade, and value of fruit and vegetable crops grown in the UK.

DEFRA Horticultural Statistics 2014 (180px * 256px)Based on provisional data for 2013, the ‘Basic Horticultural Statistics 2014’ figures reveal that the value of home-grown fruit and veg has reached an all-time high of £1.9 billion – up 4% on the previous 12 months – while the total area of land dedicated to growing is also up slightly to 160,000 hectares.

However, while the export value of UK fresh produce during 2013 rose by nearly a fifth to £183 million, this sum was dwarfed by the £5 billion worth of fruit and veg imported over the same period, up 10% on the previous 12 months.

Here are a few more highlights from the report:

Area of Land

 

In 2013 there were 160,000 hectares of land dedicated to fruit and vegetable growing in the UK – just under 131,000 hectares of vegetables (up 2% on 2012) and 29,000 hectares of fruit (virtually unchanged).

Vegetables

  • Legumes were up by 2% to 54,000 hectares, particularly peas.
  • Carrots increased by 2% to 11,000 hectares
  • Brassicas increased by 2% to almost 29,000 hectares due to increased demand
  • Rhubarb saw a massive increase of 31% to 133 hectares
  • Protected vegetables rose 8% to 818 hectares, with all crops reporting increases apart from cucumbers (down 6% to 7 hectares due to low light).

Fruit

  • Overall, orchard fruit remained consistent at 19,000 hectares, although the long-term decline of Cox apples continued with a 9% decrease
  • Total soft fruit area decreased by 1% to 9,500 hectares, with raspberries in particular down 9% on 2012 figures.

Production

 

Vegetables

  • Field vegetable production was 4% higher than in 2012 at 2,330 tonnes. Apart from notable exceptions onions, winter cabbage, asparagus, and leeks, production was higher for all crops
  • Legumes production was up 27%
  • Brassica production was up by just 1%, partly due to decreases in winter cabbage and cauliflower, down 7% and 2% respectively. However, production of Brussels sprouts and summer cabbage both rocketed by 15%
  • Salad vegetables were adversely affected by low light levels at the beginning of the year, particularly cucumber crops, which were down 8% on 2012
  • Home production as a percentage of total supply for all veg was 55% (down 4%). Mushrooms were hardest hit, falling 14% to 41% after imports rose by a third.

Fruit

  • Overall fruit production was down by 5%, with notable decreases for pears (15%) and raspberries (11%)
  • However, 2013 was a bounce-back year for plumbs after a devastating 2012 crop, with production more than doubling (up 121%)
  • Home production as a percentage of total supply for all fruit was 10%, similar to 2012, but down on the 12% recorded during the previous three years.

Value

 

The collective value of UK grown fruit and veg in 2013 hit an all-time high of £1.9 billion, up 4% on 2012.

Vegetables

  • Total value of vegetables rose 5% to £1.3 billion
  • Brassica values fell by 9% due to decreases in cauliflower (17%) and broccoli (36%) caused by higher than usual prices in 2012 as a result supply shortages
  • The value of root crops and onions increased by 17%, while legumes were up by 18%
  • Salad crop values were up slightly by 3%, with tomatoes and lettuce performing particularly well (up 8% and 11% respectively).

Fruit

  • Total value of fruit grown in the UK was £568 million, a £3 million (0.4%) increase on 2012 thanks mainly to a £9 million rise in the value of fruit grown under glass
  • Orchard fruit was worth £162 million, up 8% on 2012, while the value of outdoor soft fruit fell by 4% to £351 million.
  • Values for both strawberries and raspberries fell in 2013 (7% and 3%) due to lower prices for both crops than in 2012.

Imports and Exports

 

The total imports of fresh fruit and vegetables into the UK during 2013 rose 10% to £5 billion, although exports also increased by almost a fifth (19%) to £183 million – £72 million worth of vegetables plus £112 million of fruit.

For other Market Analysis articles, click here…

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