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Overview of greenhouse horticulture in Portugal: technology and environment

The total greenhouse production area in Portugal is about 3,000 ha with a tendency for expansion, and tomato is the most important greenhouse crop.

Protected cultivation in Portugal modernized in recent decades but remains heterogeneous in terms of technology, yields and management. The sector organizational structure and technological trajectory is characterized by increased greenhouse area per grower and higher volume/covered area ratio, and soilless cultivation has expanded. Therefore, less expensive alternatives may arise as the common solution for the sector.

Most of the greenhouse area (about 75%) corresponds to single and multiple plastic tunnels with semi automatic or automatic climate control. The use of glasshouses with fully controlled environment remains minor, due to the high costs of equipment, energy consumption, and limited expertise and technical support for local conditions.

Greenhouse horticulture has an undesirable environmental impact which must be properly monitored and minimized, while guaranteeing its socioeconomic benefits. In addition, there is more strict environmental EU legislation and stakeholders are more informed which puts pressure on the greenhouse industry in order to use more efficiently resources and minimize its environmental impact. However, the Portuguese sector still lacks relevant quantitative information and standards on performance indicators, e.g. resource use efficiency (e.g. water, energy) and related economic/environmental performance.

A SWOT analysis is presented for the most important greenhouse production areas in Portugal and guidelines are suggested for more competitive and environmental sustainable greenhouse production.

Access the full study at ResearchGate.

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