The area planted to fruit, vegetables, salad leaves and herbs in this country has declined by a whopping 12% or approximately 880ha according to provisional figures released by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine following the closing date for 2022 Basic Payment Scheme applications.

This is in the same year that the Minister for Agriculture formed a National Fodder and Food Security Committee and launched a Tillage Incentive Scheme to increase tillage area by 25,000ha.

Numerous vegetable growers signalled their intention to leave the sector at the beginning of the 2022 season and that is now clearly shown in the figures.

High costs

High costs and prices which failed to cover the cost of production were cited as reasons for leaving.

Energy and fertiliser costs spiralled this season and are a large factor in costs on these farms, as well as labour, seed and other inputs.

The total area sown to these crops totalled 6,600ha in 2022, down approximately 880ha from 2021 when the area stood at 7,481ha.

The area had remained largely stable from 2019 to 2021.

Table 1 (below) shows the full list of fruit and vegetables included in the figures. It should be noted that this is preliminary data and is subject to change.

Potatoes are not included in these figures. The total potato area is estimated to be down by 369ha to 8,470ha. A large amount of this decrease came from the maincrop area.