A rise in the cost of energy is the main reason why horticulture farmers are cutting back on growing produce this year.

Some 37% of the 37 fruit and vegetable growers surveyed identified rising energy costs as the top reason they plan on cutting back on growing vegetables or fruit in 2022.

A total of 63% of horticulture farmers plan on maintaining their level of fruit and vegetable production this year.

Some 58% of those surveyed say their energy costs have increased by 50% or more, with 20% reporting that these costs have more than doubled.

Reduced production

Output prices received and labour costs and shortages are also contributing to reduced production with 30% and 23% of horticulture farmers identifying these issues as their main reasons.

Bord Bia has estimated that there are approximately 1,000 horticulture growers currently in commercial production.

The survey found that 17% plan on exiting the industry this year.

If applied across the country, the Irish Farmers Journal findings suggest that as many as 170 of the 1,000 growers could exit the sector in 2022.