A new report on horticultural input price inflation by Teagasc – the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, has warned that vegetable production in the country is likely to decline by 7% this year as growers struggle to reclaim increased costs of production from their customer base.
Based on snapshot of input prices in March 2023 compared to March 2022, Teagasc reported that all sub sectors of horticulture reported significant input price inflation across most inputs except energy. ‘Energy is still at least 100% more expensive than in 2021,’ the organisation pointed out in a statement.
‘While primary horticulture producers, for the most part, have received some output price increases in 2022, the continuing input price inflation means that achieving a margin over costs for many horticultural enterprises continues to be challenging.
‘In recent years, a significant number of primary producers in the vegetable sector and other sectors have ceased trading and early indications for 2023 season show this continuing. Teagasc estimates that the area of field vegetable production will be down by 7% in 2023, based on direct engagement with growers.’
Dermot Callaghan, Head of Teagasc Horticulture Development Department said, “While Brexit, Covid-19 and the continuing Ukrainian crisis have pushed input prices much higher in recent years, input price inflation continues in 2023. When we set this upward input price trend against the fifteen-year downward trend in Fruit and Vegetable retail prices as depicted in the report, it is clear to see how primary producers could be squeezed. A response from the market is required, if the viability of the industry is to be maintained, and the flow of local, nutritious, fresh, top quality produce on to the supermarket shelves is to continue.”