Defra's latest horticulture statistics for fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants and flowers paint a mixed picture with increases in planted areas across all sectors, sectoral-variation around value but falling self-sufficiency for fruit and vegetables. Imports and exports increased across all categories.
Defra has published its annual compendium of horticulture statistics for 2016 providing information on area, production, value, imports and exports of horticulture crops from 1985 to 2016. Below is a quick summary on the key headline figures from the latest release.
VEGETABLE AREA AND VALUE INCREASES BUT PRODUCTION FALLS
There were 146,818 ha allocated to vegetables production in the UK in 2016, an increase of 5.7% on 2015 figures.
Home produced vegetables were worth £1.3 billion in 2016, up 7.5% on 2015. However, this theme was not across the board: there was an increase in the home produced market value of field vegetables, which rose to £990 million (a £107 million increase), the value of protected vegetables fell to £353 million (a £13 million fall).
Overall production fell by 5.2% to 2.6 million tonnes but, over the last 20 years, total production of vegetables has remained fairly constant between 2.5 and 3.0 million tonnes.
UK self-sufficiency in vegetables reduced with home production contributing around 54% of the total UK supply in 2016, 4.6% lower than in 2015.
Overall, total supply of vegetables in UK (including imports) was down 0.6% to 4.9 million tonnes. This is the first fall in total supply for 4 years.
FRUIT VALUE DECREASES BUT AREA AND PRODUCTION INCREASES
There were 29,664 ha allocated to fruit production in the UK in 2016, an increase of 1.0% on 2015 figures.
Home produced fruit fell in value to £670 million, a fall of 3.7% compared to 2015. The fall in value was largely driven by price with a fall in the value of soft fruit due to a later start to the soft fruit season and a fall in production when compared to 2015.
Domestic production remained at roughly the same level as last year: 0.8 million tonnes.
UK self-sufficiency in fruit reduced with home production contributing 17% of the total UK supply of fruit in 2016, 3.4% lower than in 2015.
Total supply of fruit in UK (including imports) rose by 3.5% to 4.5 million tonnes in 2016.
PLANTS AND FLOWERS SHOW INCREASES IN BOTH AREA AND VALUE
There were 176,482 ha allocated to ornamental plant and flower production in the UK in 2016, an increase of 4.9% on 2015 figures.
UK ornamentals were worth £1.2 billion in 2016, an increase of 4.7% compared to 2015.