New research by agriculture advisory body Teagasc claims that more horticultural food producers may cease trading, due to input costs eroding producer margins. Teagasc warns that a market response was required to ensure the viability of producers that are responsible for putting fresh fruit and vegetables on supermarket shelves. The research stated that in overall terms, retail prices for fruit and vegetables are now lower than they were in 2003, despite a recent uplift in prices for some produce.
A report stated that in recent years a significant number of primary producers in the vegetable and other sectors have ceased trading and early indications for the 2023 season showed this continuing. Teagasc also estimated the area of field vegetable production will be down 7% this year.
Market response needed to ensure viable horticulture sector
All horticultural sub-sectors have reported significant input price inflation across most inputs – specifically labour, packaging materials, and fertiliser – except energy, which is still at least 100% more expensive than in 2021, the report states.