The horticulture and vegetable sectors have a very low rate of greenhouse gas emissions per $ of value produced. The vegetable sector produces 85 t CO2-e for every 1$M in revenue generated and the horticulture industry generally produces 83 t CO2-e for every 1$M in revenue generated (at the farm gate). The total emissions for horticulture are only 1% of agriculture or 0.12% of the national total. Vegetables are even less, at 0.05% of total emissions.
These figures are low relative to other rural industries. For example, beef cattle emit 6,686 t CO2-e for every 1$M in revenue, and sheep emit 3,513 t CO2-e for every 1$M in revenue.
The vegetable industry is, however, characterised by a high level of inputs. This results in a high average greenhouse gas intensity of about 9.2 t CO2-e per hectare.
Vegetables have a low carbon (and water) footprint compared to most other food items and this is likely to be a significant marketing advantage for the industry into the future. Consumers are becoming more aware of the carbon and water footprints of the food they eat. While this is not currently influencing their buying decisions, it may in the future.