Fewer growers with vegetables under glass

13/01/2003 10:00

The number of market gardeners in the Netherlands growing glasshouse vegetables is falling rapidly. In 1985 seven thousand businesses grew vegetables under glass, in 2002 this had more than halved to three thousand. The total area of glasshouses for vegetables hardly changed, however, in the last seven years.

Vegetables under glass

Fewer market gardeners

Between 1995 and 2002 one third of market gardeners stopped growing vegetables in glasshouses, most of them in the province of South Holland. These businesses are disappearing most quickly in the provinces of Utrecht, South Holland, Groningen and Gelderland. In Utrecht and Groningen the number of businesses even more than halved since 1995.

Area stable

The total area of glasshouses for vegetables in the Netherlands fluctuated around 4,500 hectares between 1985 and 1995. Since then it has been some two hundred hectares smaller, around 4,300.
In South Holland the area of vegetable glasshouses decreased by 373 hectares between 1995 and 2002. In the same period 21 hectares were lost in Utrecht. In nearly all other provinces the area has increased in the last seven years. The main growth areas are North Brabant (+162 hectares), Zeeland (+37 hectares), Limburg (+34 hectares) and Friesland (+31 hectares). More than half of all glasshouses for vegetables (54 percent) are still in South Holland, though. In 1995 this was 61 percent.

Changes in the area of vegetable glasshouses, and number of businesses per province

Increase in scale

As the number of growers with glasshouses for vegetables has fallen strongly, while the area has remained fairly stable, there has been a considerable increase in scale. An average business with glasshouses has an area of fourteen thousand square metres. In 1995 this was still only 9,400 square metres.

Average area of businesses with vegetable glasshouses

Cor Pierik