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Ökologischer Betrieb
© BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics


The cluster horticulture in Germany

Description of the horticulture cluster
© Thünen-Institut/BW
Description of the horticulture cluster

Economic analysis of the cluster horticulture in Germany

In national accounting statistics in Germany horticulture is limited to primary production and a few selected horticultural services. Contrary, all actors of the  value chain are involved in producing horticultural products. For this reason official statistics do not reflect the economic performance of the horticultural sector completely.

Background and Objective

In national accounting statistics the horticultural sector in Germany is defined very narrow. For example forest tree nurseries are related to the forest sector, the horticultural services sector is dealt with separately and incompletely and the production factor industry as well as trade with horticultural products are not considered at all.

The overall objective of this research project is to quantify the economic relevance of the sector horticulture in Germany in terms of gros value added, production value and employment.

Target Group

Politics, administration, profession


In the first step national accounting statistics are used to identify relevant economic sectors. Based on these statistics the sectors will be quantified as far as possible. To fill remaining gaps further official and grey statistics will be used. Expert judgments will complete the analysis.

Our Research Questions

What is the economic importance of the horticultural sector in Germany compared to agriculture and the whole economy?


The analysis of the economic importance of the horticulture sector in Germany follows the concept of production clusters. Statistics with data from 2008 were used. Results show that the annual gross value added of the horticulture cluster in Germany amounts to nearly 20 billion Euros. The highest share by far of the gross value added is derived from downstream industries within the horticultural value chain (85 %). Upstream businesses contribute only 3 %. Based on gross value added the main industries are retail (4.6 billion Euros, 23 % of the whole cluster) and wholesale (3.1 billion Euros, 16 %). The horticulture branches in total generate a gross value added of 7.7 billion Euros (39 %). Among those branches the greatest share is derived from landscape services (3.3 billion Euros, 17 %). Specialized retail contributes 1.6 Billion Euros gross value added (8 %) and horticultural production 2.5 billion Euros (13 %).

Some 715,000 individuals are employed in the horticulture sector of which about 98,000 belong to horticultural production, 100,000 to landscape services and 90,000 to specialized retail industry.

The horticulture sector generates revenues of some 81 billion Euros. Downstream industries contribute a share of more than 90 %. In particular the retail (26 Billion Euros, 33 %) and wholesale industries (25 billion Euros, 31 %) are important. Upstream industries have a share of about 2 % (1.6 billion Euros). Among the horticultural branches highest revenues are earned by landscape services (6 billion Euros, 7.3 %). Specialized horticulture trade generates revenues of 5.4 billion Euros (6.6 %) whereas horticultural production gains revenues of 4.9 Billion Euros (6.0 %).

The project was terminated in early summer 2013. The research was initiated by BMELV.


Dr. Walter Dirksmeyer

+49 531 596 5136
+49 531 596 5199

Involved external Thünen-Partners


1.2011 - 6.2013

More Information

Project status: finished

Publications to the project

  1. 0

    Dirksmeyer W, Hardeweg B (2013) Bedeutung des Gartenbaus in Deutschland - ein Überblick : Vorstellung der aktuellen Clusterstudie. TASPO 146(23):10-11

  2. 1

    Dirksmeyer W (2013) Beitrag ergänzender Wirtschaftszweige im Gartenbaucluster sehr hoch. TASPO 147(34):8-9

  3. 2

    Dirksmeyer W, Fluck K (2013) Wirtschaftliche Bedeutung des Gartenbausektors in Deutschland. 2., überarb. Aufl. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 138 p, Thünen Rep 2, DOI:10.3220/REP_2_2_2013

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