Horticulture

Strawberries

Wexford is the county most closely associated with strawberry production. Bord Bia estimate that it accounted for almost 100 of the 224 hectares of the crop grown in Ireland in 2008. The Irish strawberry industry began around 1930 and in 1939, when war cut off imports, a production region began around Bree, Clonroche and Adamstown in Co Wexford. According to Teagasc records, the county had just three hectares of the crop in 1940, but this had jumped to 336 hectares by 1960. Crops were grown in small field plots and employed hundreds of young people. Chivers jams opened a depot in Enniscorthy, while Bunclody co-op and Irish Sugar were also involved. In the late 1990’s the crop moved from the fields to indoors, with fresh berries now available for six to eight months rather than just weeks.

Copyright Irish Farmers Journal
Strawberries
Copyright Irish Farmers Journal

Strawberries

Wexford is the county most closely associated with strawberry production. Bord Bia estimate that it accounted for almost 100 of the 224 hectares of the crop grown in Ireland in 2008. The Irish strawberry industry began around 1930 and in 1939, when war cut off imports, a production region began around Bree, Clonroche and Adamstown in Co Wexford. According to Teagasc records, the county had just three hectares of the crop in 1940, but this had jumped to 336 hectares by 1960. Crops were grown in small field plots and employed hundreds of young people. Chivers jams opened a depot in Enniscorthy, while Bunclody co-op and Irish Sugar were also involved. In the late 1990’s the crop moved from the fields to indoors, with fresh berries now available for six to eight months rather than just weeks.

Copyright Irish Farmers Journal
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Horticulture is a valuable sector of farming in Ireland, with an estimated farmgate value of €400m. The key crops in this sector include mushrooms, potatoes, field vegetables, fruit, nursery stock, cut foliage, Christmas trees and bulbs.

 

At retail level, the domestic fresh produce market was worth an estimated €1.2 billion in 2012, so there remains considerable scope for import substitution.

 

The star of the sector are Irish mushroom growers, who send 75% of their output to the UK each year, generating export earnings of €100m and taking a remarkable 50% share of the UK market. All of this is achieved from just 80 mushroom growers in Ireland, mainly located in Monaghan, Cavan, Tipperary and Mayo.

 

Bord Bia estimate that there are 212 commercial field vegetable producers growing around 4,600 hectares of crops. North county Dublin is the most important region, with 63 growers. Apart from proximity to Dublin, the soil in the area is among the best in the country.

 

Bord Bia estimate that Ireland has 150 “protected crop” growers, mainly located in north Dublin, Louth and Wexford. The main crops grown under cover are tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, cucumber, herbs and tomatoes.

 

Fruit crops

Over 70 growers are engaged in strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant production. Bord BIa estimate that strawberries account for over 90% of the Irish berry production. An estimated 60 growers grew 224 hectares of strawberries in 2008, with Wexford as expected the most significant county. Dublin was next, followed by Meath.

Foliage

A niche sector is the foliage business, which grows around 200 hectares in order to produce the greenery for use in wreaths and floral arrangements. There are also around 40 growers that specialise in apple growing.

Ireland has around 100 nursery stock producers, who produce plants for the domestic and export markets. 


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