This baseline study for Tyfu Cymru was conducted by Dr. Amber Wheeler and looks at the opportunities for Welsh Fruit and Vegetable production.
The study found that there are 204 commercial fruit and veg producers in Wales, of which 120 are small-scale (117 under 5 ha, 3 producers 5-10 ha).
There is a diverse mixture of fruit and vegetables (between 25 and 65 different varieties) grown by the 120 small-scale producers.
What is going well?
Small scale producers growing diverse crops experiencing higher awareness and value of product by customer and increased demand for all local and seasonal veg. Box schemes have waiting lists, organic and local food in demand through this distribution method.
Many local chefs are asking for local and diverse produce and this is also driving demand. Leafy crops and unusual salads and herbs were mentioned most often as possible crops to expand on.
Many producers are adding value to veg by processing for example into chutneys, herbal teas (herbs), fermented veg, smoked garlic, mushroom products, frozen desserts, ice lollies, juices, fruit syrups as well as jam.
Soft fruit was also mentioned as being in demand, strawberries, rhubarb and blackcurrants specifically.
What are the constraints?
Lack of Government investment compared to other sectors meaning small scale producers struggle with un-level playing field.
Lack of a coherent vision or integrated plan for the sector.
Lack of growing and or marketing expertise, usually amongst incoming, smaller producers.
Wales Population fruit and veg requirement
This report estimated that Wales is producing 19,551 tonnes of fruit and veg per annum on 931 hectares of land – 0.1% of total land. ‘5 a day’ fruit and vegetable requirement of the Welsh population is 566,803 tonnes per year. Therefore, Wales produces enough to supply only ¼ of a portion per head of population per day. To produce ‘5 a day’ for Welsh population would need 29 times more land.
The Welsh fruit and veg sector has great potential to develop with a core group of dedicated producers and plenty of demand for produce. Planning and investment in the sector could see numbers of producers and fantastic Welsh production vastly expanded to the benefit of local businesses and the health of the nation of a whole.
Download the full report here: Welsh Fruit and Vegetable Production - Baseline Study