Companies in this industry produce vegetable and melon crops, seeds, and bedding plants. Major companies include US-based Bolthouse Farms, Chiquita, and Dole Food, along with Chaoda Modern Agriculture (based in Hong Kong), Fresh Del Monte Produce (Cayman Islands), and Mastronardi Produce (Canada).
Worldwide, more than 1 trillion metric tonnes of vegetable and melon crops are produced each year. China, India, and the US are major global producers; Asia accounts for more than 75% of global production. Tomatoes and potatoes are the most produced vegetable crops.
The US vegetable and melon farming industry includes about 70,000 farms with combined annual revenue of about $22 billion.
Vegetable and melon farming covers about 50 types of produce, including lettuce, dried beans, carrots, sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe. Other fruit production is covered in the Fruit & Tree Nut Farming profile.
Demand is driven by population growth, consumer preferences, and government programs promoting fresh produce. The profitability of individual companies depends on maximizing crop yield and minimizing loss from disease, insects, or unfavorable weather. Large companies have advantages in diversified crop production and access to labor. Small companies can compete effectively by specializing. The US industry is concentrated: the top 10% of farms generate about 90% of industry revenue.
The vegetable and melon industry competes with grain, oilseed, fruit, and tree nut farming for cropland, as farmers tend to grow crops with the highest yield and payout....