Production of fruit, vegetables and plants, or horticulture, in Ireland has a farmgate value in the region of €400m.

Horticulture in Ireland has two sectors: food and amenity produce. The key crops in the sector are mushrooms, potatoes, field vegetables, fruit, nursery stock, cut foliage, Christmas trees and bulbs.

The horticultural industry is primarily targeted towards supplying the domestic market.  The most important market for fresh produce in Ireland is the retail market in particular the major retail multiples. The retail market for fresh produce was valued at €1.208 billion in 2012. This market is made up of sales of fruit (45.1%), vegetables (42.9%) and potatoes (12.0%).

Export strengths

However there are a couple of areas where horticultural products are exported in significant quantities, most importantly mushrooms. Mushroom exports to the UK account for 75% of the mushrooms grown in Ireland, are valued at over €115 million at retail level annually, and comprise 50% of the UK market. These exports come from 80 mushroom growers in Ireland, mainly located in Monaghan, Cavan, Tipperary and Mayo. 

In Ireland, there are an estimated 212 commercial field vegetable producers growing around 4,600ha of crops.  Strawberries account for over 90% of Irish berry production.  Ireland also has around 100 nursery stock producers, who produce plants for the domestic and export markets.