If there was ever a time to get involved in the home production of fruit and veg, it’s now.
Greenhouse growing and garden/field growing are fast becoming the ‘hobbies to have’, especially when it comes to earning a fair share of the markets money.
Recent horticultural statistics via the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs in 2015 show that there has been a vast rise in the production, value and importing and exporting of both fruit and vegetables (from the home), it what is an ever growing industry.
Here are some of the most significant key indicators of the report;
- Home produced vegetables were worth £1.3 billion in 2015, 3.9% more than in 2014 and more than any year previous
- Home produced fruit rose in value to £695 million in 2015, 9.6% higher than in 2014
- Home production contributed nearly 18% of the total UK supply of fruit in 2015, 3.5% higher than in 2014
- Home production as a percentage of total supply of tomatoes reached 20%, the highest level since 2002
It can only be assumed that the popularity of TV gardening shows, celebrity horticulture and RHS flower shows like Chelsea, Tatton Park and Hampton Court – which have seen more visitors than ever before – have gone a long way in to inspiring a new generation of ‘green fingered’ growers.
Many growers are also getting themselves noticed at local and national events too…. and they know how to market themselves!
Justin Leatham, a gardener and farmer from Richmond said; ‘‘It’s important to know how to grow for sure, but it’s just as important knowing how to be unique when it comes to branding and marketing.’’
‘‘If you spend time developing your brand, consider what your audience want, then source the buyers and sellers at local and national markets, you’ll be well on your way to succeeding.’’
‘‘If you’re unsure, there are many great guides out there. One of my favourites was the University of North Hampshire’s guide to successful selling.’’
There were also significantly increased figures in both the production and value of protected vegetables and the value and production of home produced fruit too. Here’s some additional statistics. Most of which make for good reading;
Protected vegetables – value and production statistics
- The value of protected vegetables rose by 5.6% in 2015 to £393 million. It has risen over 58% since 2005. Increased demand for salad items saw production increase by 0.8% in 2015.
- Production of protected vegetables rose by 1.7% in 2015 to 310 thousand tonnes. It has been increasing since 2007 and was 25% higher in 2015 than in 2007 with rises in nearly all categories
- Tomato production fell slightly by 1.3% in 2015 to 97 thousand tonnes. Though the value of production was £119 million – a 1.2% rise on 2014.
- Lettuce production rose by 13% in 2015 to over 13 thousand tonnes. The value of production was £17 million – a 4.4% increase on 2014.
Fruit – value and production statistics
- Fruit production increased and reached 777 thousand tonnes and was worth £695 million in 2015, up 9.6% on 2014, driven by demand for soft fruit, larger yields and a stronger growing season
- Strawberries were worth £284 million in 2015, up 16% on 2014 – which is the highest recorded value. Production reached a new high of 115 thousand tonnes, up 11% on 2014
- Raspberries were worth £124 million in 2015, an increase of 14% on 2014 with production falling slightly by 2.9% against the record high of 2014 to 17 thousand tonnes
- Cherries were worth £14 million in 2015, equivalent to 2014 with production rising by 18% to a new high of 4.7 thousand tonnes
These figures come as no surprise to Scottish farmer Deborah McGhee, who says that the figures are hardly surprising.
‘‘My family and I visit local and national farmers markets all year round, and we’ve seen our fruit and vegetables sell like hot cakes.’’ she said.
‘’As we don’t really get the money we used to get for cow’s milk, we decided to enter this market instead… and we’ve never looked back.’’
* The full reports statistics cover; area, production, value, imports and exports of horticulture crops from 1985 to 2015. Estimates are provided for around 50 fruit and vegetables and are aggregated ornamental production.
* Only selected statistics have been provided from the report. The full report does detail a mostly positive outcome, though there are some short fallings.
Full report can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/horticulture-statistics-2015