Keywords: Greenhouse horticulture, European glasshouse industry, Production chains, Environmental sustainability.
As eastern European markets open up, Europe is set to become the biggest consumer market in the world. Horticulture is an intensive form of agricultural production, both in labour and capital. Greenhouse horticulture particularly offers good possibilities for the control of production and quality, which can lead to very high production levels and excellent product quality. An analysis of current greenhouse horticulture in Europe is presented in this paper: its location, production levels, production techniques and environmental aspects including CO2 emission and the use of pesticides and fertilisers.
In a second part of the paper future developments are considered. As markets change from being producer to being customer orientated, the quality of the product as well as the production process becomes more important, a chain approach (from seed to eat) is needed. Environmentally-sound (sustainable) production will be the only acceptable way of production. Genetically modified crops offer great opportunities, but also bear risks and are met with great distrust by the public. The combination of crop models and sensors is powerful: it results in a ‘speaking plant’, helping growers in reaching their aims by making crop physiological science available to them. Finally, in an Appendix, the main statistics about European greenhouse horticulture are provided.
Ep Heuvelink, Jeong Hyun Lee and Olaf van Kooten, Wageningen University, Horticultural Production Chains group (HPC), Marijkeweg 22, 6709 PG Wageningen, Netherlands.
27 Pages, 2 Figures, 11 Tables, 18 References.