Expensive energy threatens vegetable growers

“The unfavorable development of energy prices together with the growth of other costs is the most fundamental factor that already now, i.e. at the time of sowing winter species, decides whether growers will continue growing vegetables. Without irrigation, post-harvest processing and subsequent cooling, vegetables cannot be grown or delivered to the retail network in our conditions. In the case of production in covered areas, this applies to the entire growing process,” said Hanka.

According to Hanka, expensive energy has already forced some vegetable growers to decide to limit their activities in the coming months. “Growers in covered areas will cancel production during the winter months this year. However, the question is what price development awaits us until the possible start of the new greenhouse season in the pre-spring months. Whether it will even be realistic to continue these energy-intensive operations,” pointed out Hanka.

According to Hanka, domestic vegetable growers therefore need quick help within weeks. “Now they will decide whether to establish areas with vegetables. If they decide not to establish them, they will not be able to correct their decision in the spring. This year, the areas with vegetables fell by 5.2 percent year-on-year, and next year the drop could be much more significant,” warned Hanka.

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According to Hanka, growing vegetables is one of the energy-intensive sectors. “Irrigation operations are demanding, where the share of energy costs is the largest cost item, while more than 80 percent of vegetable areas are irrigated. The subsequent processing and cooling of all production, including long-term storage, is also energy-intensive,” he explained.

“For individual growers, the share (of energy in costs) varies according to their specific focus and use of irrigation. In the case of production from covered areas, when the greenhouses need to be controlled, heated and lit, this share is even more significant,” Hanka pointed out.

More than 400 vegetable growers are registered in the Czech Republic. In recent years, domestic vegetable growing areas intended for the trade network and the processing industry have been between 11,000 and 12,000 hectares.

The article is in Czech


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