15 Nov 2017
Vegetable Market ReportHorticulture
In general after a slow start the growing season has been quite good. However, in general, farm gate prices cannot to remain static and are allowing little room for reinvestment etc. The presence of cheap imports from the UK has had a detrimental effect across all product lines. Below cost selling and price deflation at retail level continue to undermine the sector.
- After a slow start to the growing season, yields and quality have been quite reasonable over the summer and autumn months.
- The continued weakness in sterling and high yields in the UK have undermined the wholesale and catering markets in particular but there have been issues with some retailers also.
- Cabbage continues to suffer from reduced consumption. Yields were also improved this year so this lead to some downward pressure on prices from certain facilitators. As above, the weakness of sterling and higher yields in the UK has put pressure across the entire brassica market in ROI.
- Cauliflower supply and demand is balanced therefore the market is positive with no recent gluts since March.
- Irish broccoli was slow to establish, however crops did well as the season progressed.
Protected crops and salads:
- The season, which started poorly due to the poor growth of protected crops, improved throughout the year with consumption proving robust also. We also have some plant disease issues in the lettuce sector which may cause economic difficulties in future months.
- The reduction in the critical mass of growers in the salad vegetables remains a serious issue. The continued use of tenders and promotions by some retailers is not helping the situation either.
- There has been a new grower in iceberg lettuce however it has only replaced the area which we have lost.
Price deflation in the sector continues to undermine prices at farm gate level with the retail price of cucumbers for example down 15% in some retailers from 2016. Some retailers who stocked a number of Irish lines have now ceased these lines or have reduced the volume they are sourcing from Irish producers.