The latest Horticultural Statistics published for 2020 by Defra show that the value of home-produced vegetables increased by 10 per cent to just under £1.7 billion in 2020, and the volume of home production increased by 3 per cent to 2.6 million tonnes. There was an increase in the value of field vegetables, which rose by 12 per cent to £1.3 billion (an increase of £140 million) whilst the value of protected vegetables increased by 4.1 per cent to £350 million (a £14 million increase).
For the same period, home produced fruit grew in value to £1.0 billion, an increase of 16 per cent compared to 2019, with production volumes falling 4.5 per cent to 657 thousand tonnes, while UK ornamentals were worth £1.4 billion in 2020, a decrease of 1.2 per cent compared to 2019.
The report points out that, a very wet winter followed by a very dry spring had a negative effect on all vegetable crops, especially on heavy soils which became unworkable. Drought conditions improved toward the end of May. Through July and August, the hot weather and regular showers helped with crop growth across nearly all sectors. The lockdown generally increased the demand of fresh vegetables (excluding salads), although profit margins were tighter and production costs increased (e.g., implementing social distancing measures for staff).
The value of orchard fruit increased by 23 per cent in 2020 to £340 million and soft fruit increasing by 14 per cent to £653 million. The value of dessert apples increased by £16 million to £158 million in 2020, an 11 per cent increase on 2019. Meanwhile the value of pears showed a 13 per cent decrease to £20 million.
Photo source: Gov.uk