Amenity horticulture in Ireland has had a difficult year because of the impact of adverse weather on the sales of hardy nursery stock.
Irish food agency Bord Bia has found that the prospects for 2005 are not bright because the sector faces an increasingly competitive environment.
Its food, drink and horticulture export review found that foliage plants, flowers and bulbs made some progress with Christmas trees holding steady in 2004, and this sector can expect some increases in the year ahead. Bord Bia merged with Irish horticulture board Bord Glas last year.
It estimates the value of Irish amenity exports in 2004 as £11.2 million, similar to 2003. Hardy nursery stock was down from £5.2 million in 2003 to £4.7 million last year. At just over £3.3 million, Christmas tree exports were unchanged on the year before. In the foliage plant, flower and bulb sector, exports were up to £3.2 million, compared with £3 million the year before.
The review said: “The availability of large volumes of inexpensive plants on the European market, which damaged both the domestic and export markets in 2004, is unlikely to cause the same difficulties in 2005.
“However, the combination of over-production in the Netherlands and the decision taken by many multiple retailers in the EU to speculatively purchase or spot-buy more of their plants… on the open market is likely to give rise to further instability across all European markets in 2005.”
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