Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
Spain ranks second

China is the world's leading greenhouse producer by area

A recent study published in Nature Food reveals that the world has 1.3 million hectares devoted to greenhouse cultivation, distributed in 119 countries. This analysis, carried out by researchers from several international institutions, highlights the rapid growth of greenhouse agriculture, especially in low- and middle-income countries in the global south.

The research used deep learning algorithms and new satellite imagery sources to map the extent of greenhouse cultivation, revealing that the area is nearly three times larger than previously estimated. China dominates this sector with 60.4% of the total area, followed by Spain (5.6%), Italy (4.1%), Mexico (3.3%), Turkey (2.4%), Morocco (2.3%), South Korea (1.8%), Japan (1.7%), the Netherlands (1.4%), and France (1.3%). Greenhouse expansion has stagnated in the Northern Hemisphere but continues growing in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. The south has 2.7 times more area devoted to greenhouses than the north.

According to Xiaoye Tong, from the University of Copenhagen and leading author of the study, "Greenhouse farming has become a global phenomenon and everything indicates that it will continue to expand. However, this phenomenon is rapidly going unnoticed and we have large gaps in our knowledge of the dynamics driving this phenomenon." The study suggests that China's leadership could be related to its socio-economic development and the demand for fresh produce by a growing urban population.

"The boom in China seems closely related to its strong economic performance over the last decade and the increase of an urban population with purchasing power that demands tomatoes, cucumbers, and other types of fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, farmers who otherwise would not be able to finance this form of cultivation, receive government subsidies and support to build greenhouses and learn cultivation techniques," Tong said.

The researchers also warn about greenhouse cultivation's environmental and social consequences, especially in the global south, where it can contribute to the overexploitation of water resources, pollution, and soil degradation, among other issues. Marianne Nylandsted Larsen, co-author of the study, highlighted the need for more research on these impacts and the importance of considering political regulation of the sector. "One of the problems that needs to be addressed is the lack of greenhouse cultivation regulations in low- and middle-income countries, which account for 70% to 80% of the total area," Tong stressed.


Publication date: