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Wednesday, 09 June 2010

One in four European farmers gone in ten years

According to the latest figures from Eurostat, the EU statistics institute, the European Union lost the equivalent of 3.7 million full-time jobs in the agricultural sector (25%) between 2000 and 2009. The reduction in employment hit new Member States (NMS) particularly hard, for example in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland or Romania, which saw decreases of more than 30% as a result of consolidation and modernization of their systems of production. On the hand, this has also led to an increase in real agricultural income per worker of over 60% in these countries. The situation is much worse, however, in the older EU Member States (EU15), where the reduction in agricultural employment has been less than in the NMS, but has been accompanied with an average fall in real agricultural income of -10% over the last ten years. In 2009 alone, Eurostat noted a decrease of 12% per worker in the EU15 as a whole, with certain countries posting particularly dramatic falls: France (-19%), Luxembourg (-25%) or Ireland (-24%). European production continues to grow (+4% in the period under review) as a result of significant gains in productivity in the NMS that joined the EU between 2004 and 2007. However, these gains in the East will not last forever and we should be prepared for the downswing of the pendulum, in other words, what will happen when these gains in productivity in the East fade away, and there are no more farmers in the West? The only solution is a common regulatory policy that is capable of limiting price fluctuations for agricultural products, thereby stabilizing incomes. Such a policy would ensure agricultural production in the long term, throughout the EU.

Source: Mouvement pour une Organisation Mondiale de l'Agriculture