7.5% jump in UK horticultural area

The latest statistics published by Defra and the Office for National Statistics suggests a 7.5 per cent increase in the area of horticultural crops in the UK last year. The main sectors which contributed to the rise included top fruit, strawberries, raspberries, carrots, onions and salads.

However, the statistics also revealed an 8.6 per cent fall in glasshouse space dedicated to flowers, foliage and other ornamental plants. Home produced vegetables were worth around £1.2 billion in 2014, 8.5 per cent less than 2013 due to lower prices caused by oversupply and lack of demand, with field vegetables worth £885 million and protected vegetables £348 million. The value of UK produced fruit rose in value to £620 million in 2014, 7.5 per cent up on the previous year thanks to increasing demand for soft fruit, together with larger yields and a longer growing season. UK ornamentals were worth £1.17 billion in 2014, 2.0 per cent lower than in 2013 but higher than the values seen in previous years.

Home production of vegetables contributed to around 57.6 per cent of the total UK supply in 2014, while the UK supply of carrots was 101.4 per cent, indicating that the UK exported more carrots than it imported: the highest level of carrot exports on record. Tomatoes also performed well, with home grown crop accounting for 19.4 per cent of consumption, the highest level since 2002.