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Farming, Fishing and Forestry in Figures
added: 2012-12-20

What types of farming do we have in the EU? How many persons work in the agricultural sector? How many farms are organic and what area do they use? How much fish has been caught by European vessels over the last 15 years?

Answers to these questions and many more can be found in the 2012 edition of the pocketbook on agriculture, fishery and forestry statistics1 issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The pocketbook, which is aimed at both generalists and specialists, presents selected tables and graphs providing an overview of the agricultural sector in the European Union based on the most recent available statistical data.

One chapter in the pocketbook is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Common Agricultural Policy, which occurred in 2012. Eurostat has provided data for this common policy since it started. Another chapter presents the results of the last agricultural census at European level. The remaining chapters highlight the economy of the agricultural industry, agricultural production, agriculture and the environment, rural development, forestry and fishery statistics.

Poland, Romania, Italy, Spain, France and Germany have the largest labour forces working in agriculture

A complete agricultural census takes place in Europe every ten years. The latest agricultural census, carried out in 2010, showed that almost 23 million people were occupied on nearly 12 million farms in the EU27. They include farmers, members of farmers' families and the non-family labour force, who do not all work on a full-time basis.

Therefore, the number of persons is usually converted into Annual Work Units (AWU), which are equivalent to full-time employment. In 2010, the total farm labour force in the EU27 was 9.7 million AWU, of which 7.5 million AWU or 77% were the family labour force, 1.4 million AWU or 15% the regular non-family labour force and 0.8 million AWU or 8% the non-regular, non-family labour force.

Among the Member States, Poland (1.9 million AWU) had the largest total farm labour force, followed by Romania (1.6 million), Italy (1.0 million), Spain (0.9 million), France (0.8 million) and Germany (0.5 million). Together these six Member States accounted for nearly 70% of the total farm labour force in AWU in the EU27. The largest proportions of family farm labour force were observed in Poland (95% of the total), Ireland (92%) and Malta (90%), the highest shares of regular non-family labour force in the Czech Republic (75%), Slovakia (69%), France and Estonia (both 45%), and of non-regular non-family labour force in Spain (19%), the Netherlands (13%) and Italy (12%).

Largest share of organic farms in Austria, the Czech Republic and Sweden

In 2010, there were around 156 000 organic farms in the EU27, corresponding to 1.3% of the total number of farms. Around 5 million hectares were used for organic farming, which corresponds to 2.9% of the utilised agricultural area. Among the Member States, the largest share of organic farms among total holdings was observed in Austria (13%), the Czech Republic (7%), Sweden (6%), Estonia, Finland, Germany and Denmark (all 5%). In terms of area used for organic farming, Austria (12% of utilised agricultural area used for organic farming) had also the largest share, followed by Sweden (10%), Estonia and the Czech Republic (both 9%).

Catches of fish by EU27 vessels down by almost 40% between 1995 and 2010

In 2010, there were 4.9 million tonnes of fish caught by EU27 vessels, compared with 8.1 mn in 1995, 6.8 mn in 2000 and 5.6 mn in 2005. This corresponds to a decrease of almost 40% between 1995 and 2010.

In 2010, most fish were caught by Denmark (828 000 tonnes or 17% of total catches), Spain (739 000 tonnes or 15%), the United Kingdom (608 000 tonnes or 12%) and France (443 000 tonnes or 9%). Together these four Member States accounted for more than half of the total catch by the EU27.

Source: Eurostat

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