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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 927: XXVIII International Horticultural Congress on Science and Horticulture for People (IHC2010): International Symposium on Greenhouse 2010 and Soilless Cultivation

PROTECTED CULTIVATION IN PORTUGAL: AN INVESTMENT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY?

Authors:   J.M. Costa, M.G. Palha, M.E. Ferreira , A. Vargues, D.P.F. Almeida
Keywords:   Portuguese greenhouse horticulture, fruits and vegetables, ornamentals, sector analysis
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.927.15
Abstract:
Greenhouse horticulture is a small but promising sub-sector of Portuguese horticulture. In 2007, the area under protected cultivation was 2,196 ha, 70% of which dedicated to fruits and vegetables (F&V) and the remaining 30% to ornamentals. In 2013, the area is expected to reach about 2,900 ha. The major areas of protected cultivation are located along the coast, in the regions of North, Lisbon Tejo Valley (LTJ), Alentejo and Algarve. The LTJ region has the largest cultivated area under greenhouse, with 568 ha dedicated to F&V and 320 ha to ornamentals. It is followed by the regions of North (491 ha) and Algarve (461 ha). The sector is characterized by small scale operations coexisting with several large, modern companies. Recently, greenhouse horticulture has received attention from both the government and private investors, aiming at increasing F&V and ornamental production and take advantage of favourable climate conditions and lower production costs compared to North Europe. The last decade is characterized by an increase in the greenhouse area per grower, more modern greenhouses, higher productivity, and larger use of soilless cultivation. Despite its potential, the sector faces several threats and weaknesses. The lack of up-to-date and organized statistics makes it difficult to assess the size of this sector, its weaknesses and opportunities and limits adequate investment strategies. Our aim is to provide a general overview of the greenhouse horticulture in Portugal and contribute for a more objective evaluation of the situation and prospects of the sector. A SWOT analysis is provided for the most relevant regions for protected cultivation. Guidelines for more competitive and environmentally friendly greenhouse production are also discussed.

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