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A Review of the All-Island Horticulture Industry


Industry Overview

The horticulture industry is described in terms of its economic value, capacity and employment. The review covers how the industry meets the challenges of the marketplace and offers a brief summary of the outlook for the future. The report highlights:

  • Market conditions
  • Value of the horticulture industry
  • Horticulture land use
  • Reaching the marketplace
  • Employment in the horticulture industry
  • Outlook for the industry

Critical challenges

The consultation process highlighted a number of critical challenges facing the horticulture industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland. These are summarised under the following categories:

  • Policy cohesion
  • Meeting consumer demand
  • Quality and traceability
  • Product development and R&D
  • Human resources and training
  • Seasonality issues
  • Emerging clusters
  • Wider social and economic benefits of horticulture

Key sectors

The review presents an overview of the key sectors within the horticulture industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Field Vegetables
  • Protected Crops
  • Fruit
  • Organic Produce
  • Amenity

Public infrastructure

The review presents an overview of the public infrastructure that supports the horticulture industry in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. It also covers areas where cross-border cooperation is already quite advanced.

  • Legislation
  • Policy formation
  • Implementation bodies and agencies
  • Incentive schemes
  • Training and education
  • R&D resources
  • Cross-border links


The review presents recommendations on how the challenges facing the industry might be met by policy makers, implementation bodies and by the industry itself.


Remodel implementation structures in Northern Ireland to achieve parity with those in place in Ireland.

Support horticulture clusters with export market development potential through their programmes and overseas networks.

Develop specific programmes aimed at increasing sales of prepared fresh fruit and vegetable produce via the Food Service sector. (Bord Bia and Invest Northern Ireland).

Increase awareness
amongst policy makers
of the wider role of horticulture
in the creation of wealth and
enhancement of the environment

Conduct a biannual in-depth census of grower output, using common data collection and analysis methods North and South.

Conduct market research to focus on identifiable opportunities.

Expand the Garden Ireland generic marketing concept.

Develop new, value-added products to meet identified consumer demand.

Scale up Organic sector.


Make support mechanisms available to enable producers to meet the EU traceability requirements.

Standardise an all-island quality scheme.

Improve procedural management systems to ensure traceability.

Separate horticulture R&D from general agriculture R&D.

Develop an all-island market-led R&D strategy.

Target specific R&D initiatives.

Focus R&D on storage, extension of the growing season, more suitable varieties.

Promote and extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) and the Seasonal Horticultural Workers Scheme (SHWS) schemes to attract more student / seasonal labour.

Facilitate skills transfer programmes-particularly on supply chain issues and on new technologies.

Pool resources to establish skills transfer programmes.

Take up opportunities for business skills training.

A-Review-of-the-All-Island-Horticulture-IndustryClick here to download the full report: A Review of the All-Island Horticulture Industry