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Flemish greenhouse vegetable growers regain positive outlook, but concerns about government policies remain

An increase in the business cycle index was observed in Flemish horticulture. The business cycle index reflects the feelings of horticulturists: how do they regard the past period, and what do they expect from the future period?

Growers in ornamental horticulture under glass are the most positive. Indeed, ornamental horticulture under glass continues to recover from a poor autumn in 2022. Growers of vegetables under glass are also increasingly satisfied. What is also striking is that growers increasingly experience a barrier from the government. That share has even increased by 20% in recent years. These are figures from the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries on Flemish agriculture and horticulture.

Although Belgian growers are generally more satisfied, the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries expects a downward trend over the next six months.

The conjunction index can go from 0, where all growers are very negative, to 200, where all growers are very positive. In autumn 2023, the business cycle index fell from 82 to 80, with satisfaction over the past six months going from 84 to 88. Future prospects dropped from 79 to 72.

In recent years, Flemish horticulturists remained reasonably satisfied.

Flemish horticulturists in ornamental plant cultivation under glass are the most satisfied. Last autumn, 2022, they were not satisfied, but now they are more satisfied.

The graph clearly shows the recovery of ornamental horticulture under glass.

Vegetables under glass also saw a dip in 2022. This sector is also recovering further in 2023.

The number of horticulturists planning investments in the coming year hardly changes in 2023. Only the sectors where pricing has gone well have an increase in planned investments.

In the graph, the constant lines clearly show that the number of investments has remained stable in recent years.

The proportion of growers and horticulturists who have experienced obstacles in the past six months has risen to 90%. Especially from the government, growers experience obstacles. Currently at the highest levels since the survey was introduced in 2007. The nitrogen dossier, for example, is causing uncertainty about the future of farms.

What is striking is the upward trend in the proportion of Flemish horticulturists experiencing obstacles from the government in the past six months.

In general, it can be seen that the percentage of growers experiencing an obstacle is increasing.

Source: Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

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