Keywords: spatial planning, greenhouse parks, farmer attitudes, horticultural farmers, probit modelling, sustainable horticulture, densely populated areas, Belgium, greenhouse production, greenhouse concentration
Greenhouse concentration and sustainable horticulture in densely populated areas
During the last two decades, the production value of the Belgian horticultural sector has increased substantially and represents almost a quarter of the total agricultural production value. Within the total production value of vegetables, greenhouse production represents almost half. Despite having so much importance, the greenhouse sector faces a lot of problems in relation to sustainability such as obtaining the necessary building and exploitation permits. The lack of space and adapted legislation results in an uncertain investment environment. The establishment of greenhouse parks, which can be defined as areas of greenhouse concentration, can satisfy the need for space. Using a survey organised amongst all horticultural holdings in an important greenhouse production area, a study has been conducted of the attitude of farmers towards the establishment of greenhouse concentration parks. A probit model is used to connect the attitude of farmers with characteristics of horticultural farms and farmers. Possible areas for greenhouse parks are also identified and evaluated. The results confirm that greenhouse concentration may be an acceptable solution for the spatial problems of horticultural farmers. The methodology used can be applied to identify and evaluate areas suitable for greenhouse concentration.