Ornamental cultivation remains more or less the same compared to last year

Growth in Belgian greenhouse acreage mainly due to soft fruit cultivation

The Belgian statistics office, Statbel, published the definitive figures concerning the agricultural and horticultural sector in Belgium for 2018. The main takeaway from the report was that the total figure for the acreage of greenhouse cultivation has increased by 6.2 percent in comparison to 2017, totaling 2308 hectares in 2018. The growth mainly occurs in the greenhouse vegetable and soft fruit sectors, while ornamental cultivation remains more or less the same compared to the previous year.

Greenhouse acreage (ha) 2017 2018 %
Total 2165.4 2308.1 6.2
Greenhouse vegetables 1062.8 1111 4.3
Soft fruit 590.4 678.1 12.9
Ornamental cultivation 383.3 388.9 1.3

Greenhouse vegetables
The figures regarding greenhouse vegetable cultivation unsurprisingly show that the area used for tomato cultivation is by far the largest. In 2018, 536.2 hectares were used for the cultivation of tomatoes, this shows an increase of 31 hectares in comparison to 2017. It should be noted that the cultivation of tomatoes in open fields, though only slightly, increases from 15.1 hectares to 21.6 hectares.

After tomatoes, head lettuce was the most commonly cultivated crop, with an acreage of 141.6 hectares in 2018. However, this number did go down by 14.5 hectares in comparison with 2017. On the other hand, growth is clearly visible in the cultivation of other lettuce types, of which 46.4 hectares were cultivated in 2018. This marks a growth of 30.8 percent when comparing it to 2017.

Herbs (culinary herbs) also have shown substantial growth. From 8.3 hectares in 2017 to 11.3 hectares in 2018.

Greenhouse acreage (ha) 2017 2018 %
Tomatoes 505.2 536.2 5.8
Cucumbers 28.3 29.2 3.1
Eggplants 16.2 21.8 25.7
Head lettuce 156 141.6 - 10.2
Other lettuce types 32.1 46.4 30.8
Other herbs 8.3 11.3 26.5

Soft fruit
Soft fruit is also showing an increase in acreage. The acreage used for strawberries increased by 12.8 percent to the 56.2 hectares that was used in 2018. The area for ‘berry’ cultivation increased by 13.2 percent to 11.4 hectares in 2018.

Greenhouse acreage (ha) 2017 2018 %
Strawberries 49 56.2 12.8
Berries 9.9 11.4 13.2

Ornamental cultivation
In ornamental greenhouse cultivation, the changes compared to 2017 are only slight. So slight in fact that, when looking only at the figures, one would assume that there have hardly been any bankruptcies or expansions among Belgian growers in the past year.

Ornamental cultivation acreage (ha) 2017 2018 %
Total 384 389 1.3
Azalea 145 148 2.0
Potted plants 52 49 - 5.8
Cut flowers 26 27 3.8
Bulbs and tubers <3 <3 0
Balcony and bedding plants 71 73 2.8
Other ornamental plants 86 89 3.5

View all of the figures of Statbel here, or the area figures of the Netherlands here, and here to see how Dutch (and Belgian) ornamental and vegetable greenhouse cultivation did in terms of finance this year.

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