Appendix K : Market-Gardening in Belgium
K. MARKET-GARDENING IN BELGIUM . .. . . . . . 434
In 1885 the superficies given to market gardening in Belgium was 99,600 acres. In 1894 a Belgian professor of agriculture, who has kindly supplied me with notes on this subject, wrote:-
The area has considerably increased, and I believe it can be taken at 112,000 acres (45,000 hectares), if not more. And further on: Rents in the neighborhood of the big towns, Antwerp, Liege, Ghent, and Brussels, attain as much as £5, 16s. and £8 per acres; the cost of installment is from £13 to £25 per acre; the yearly cost of manure, which is the chief expense, attains from £8 to £16 per acre the first year, and then from £5 to £8 every year. The gardens are of the average size of two and a half acres, and in each garden from 200 to 400 frames are used. About the Belgian market-gardeners the same remark must be made as has been made concerning the French maraichers. They work awfully hard, having to pay extravagant rents, and to lay money aside, with the hope of some day being able to buy a piece of land, and to get rid of the blood-sucker who absorbs so much of their money returns; having moreover every year to buy more and more frames in order to obtain their produce earlier and earlier, so as to fetch higher prices for it, they work like slaves. But it must be remembered that in order to obtain the same amount of produce under glass, in greenhouses, the work of three men only, working fifty-five hours a week, is required in Jersey for cultivating one acre of land under glass.
But I must refer my readers to the excellent work of my friend, B. Seebohm Rowntrees Land and Labor: Lessons from Belgium, London (Macmillan), 1910, a strong volume of more than 600 pages, which is the result of several years of laborious studies. It is full of figures and personal observations, and will be consulted with advantage for all the questions dealing with the economical life of Belgium.
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