Czechs increasingly dependent on vegetable imports

Vegetable imports to the Czech Republic continue to grow, the Czech News Agency reported this week. According to data from the Czech Statistics Office, the foreign vegetable trade currently shows a deficit of 11 billion crowns.

Photo: Jaroslav MachPhoto: Jaroslav Mach In 2009, the value of vegetable imports to the Czech Republic stood at 9.3 billion crowns, while last year, that figure amounted to over 14 billion crowns.

The amount of imported vegetables increased from 648,000 tonnes in 2009 to nearly 856,000 tonnes last year. Meanwhile, Czech vegetable exports increased from 150,000 tonnes in 2009 to 191,000 tonnes in 2017.

One Czech consumes on average 81 kilos of vegetables a year, with 54 kilos being imported from abroad. According to Jaroslav Zeman, head of the Czech Vegetable Growers Union, vegetables grown in the Czech Republic only cover around one third of local consumption.

Most vegetables are imported to the country from the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Germany and Italy. While the Netherland and Spain mostly supply the Czech market with tomatoes and cucumbers, Polish farmers import onions, cabbage and cauliflower.

Vegetables in the Czech Republic are currently grown on an area of 10,000 to 11,000 hectares. In 2017, Czech farmers produced 265,000 tonnes of vegetables. This year, the yield is estimated to drop by around 15 percent due to the prolonged period of drought in the summer.

Vegetables traditionally grown in the Czech Republic include onions, cabbage, peas and carrots. Due to a growing demand for cherry tomatoes, an increasing number of green houses have been built around the country in recent years.