Archive:Agricultural accounts and prices
This article has been archived. For up to date information see the article: Performance of the agricultural sector.
This article is part of a set of statistical articles based on the Eurostat online publication Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics. It gives an overview of indicators on agricultural output, agricultural income and of agricultural prices in the European Union (EU). The data are extracted from Eurostat collections of agricultural statistics: economic accounts for agriculture (EAA) and agricultural price indices (API).
Main statistical findings
The economic accounts for agriculture show that the total output of the agricultural industry (comprising the output values of crops and animals, agricultural services and the goods and services produced from inseparable non-agricultural secondary activities) in the EU-28 in 2016 was an estimated EUR 405 billion at basic prices (see Table 1). The equivalent of 59.1 % of the value of agricultural output generated was spent on intermediate consumption (input goods and services). The residual gross value added at basic prices was the equivalent of 40.9 % of the value of total output in 2016 or EUR 165.7 billion (see Table 2).
In 2016 France was the largest agricultural producer in the EU-28 (EUR 70.3 billion or 17.4 % of the EU-28 total), followed by Italy (13.2 %), Germany (13.1 %) and Spain (11.6 %); relative to its size, the Netherlands accounted for quite a high share of the EU-28’s agricultural output (6.7 %) as shown in Table 1.
Compared with 2010, the value of agricultural industry rose in 2016 in almost all of the EU Member States, except Croatia (where output decreased by 25.1 %) and at a lesser extent Greece (by -1.6 %), Denmark and Malta (by -0.1 % each). The highest increases in output value (in absolute terms) were recorded for the EU’s larger producers, rising by EUR 6.4 billion in Spain, 5.2 billion in Italy, EUR 4.2 billion in the United Kingdom, EUR 2.7 billion in Poland and EUR 2.2 billion in France.
Table 2 shows the main components of the EU-28’s agricultural industry at basic prices. In 2016 crop output was 51.9 % of the total output value of the agricultural industry and animal output was 39.2 %. The agricultural services and inseparable secondary activities, generally the processing of agricultural products, provided the residual shares of 5.0 % and 3.9 % respectively. The agricultural products accounting for the highest share of output value in the EU-28’s agricultural industry in 2016 were ‘vegetables and horticultural plants’ (13.2 %) ‘milk’ (12.2 %) and cereals (10.7 %), while pig (8.5 %) and cattle (8.2 %) output also accounted for relatively large shares (see Figure 1). More information on the production of agricultural products is provided in the online publication Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics.
Intermediate consumption covers purchases made by farmers for raw and auxiliary materials that are used as inputs for crop and animal production; it also includes expenditure on veterinary services, repairs and maintenance, and other services. Intermediate consumption within the EU-28’s agricultural industry in 2016 was valued at EUR 239.4 billion at basic prices or 59.1 % of the output value. The intermediate consumption in the agricultural industry decreased from 2015 (EUR 247.7 billion, or 59.4 % of the output value) to 2016 by 3.4 % (see Table 2).
Feedingstuffs for animals accounted by far for the highest share (36.8 %) of total intermediate inputs within the EU-28’s agricultural activity in 2016, valued at more than three times the share of energy and lubricants (10.6 %); the latter are used for both animal and crop production. Fertilisers and soil improvers (7.4 %) accounted for the highest share of intermediate inputs among those inputs used exclusively for crop production (see Figure 2).
Three main intermediate inputs are used for the production of crops: seeds and plantings, fertilisers, and plant protection products, which together accounted for 20.3 % of the production value of crops in the EU-28 in 2016 (1.7 percentage points higher than in 2010). The two main intermediate inputs for animal production: feedingstuffs and veterinary expenses, together accounted for 59.5 % of the EU-28’s production value for animals in 2016. This was 0.3 percentage points lower than in 2010 (see Table 3).
Gross value added and subsidies
Gross value added at basic prices of the EU-28’s agricultural industry in 2016 was an estimated EUR 165.7 billion, while subsidies on production amounted to EUR 52.6 billion (see Table 4). The highest subsidies were generally granted to those EU Member States with the highest levels of output (France, Germany, Spain and Italy). Certain Member States received relatively more subsides, considering their contribution to the gross value added, than others. In particular, Germany accounted for 12.7 % of subsidies on production in the total EU, but only for 10.3 % of EU-28 gross value added (2.5 percentage points of difference). Finland (2.4 percentage points), Ireland (1.8 percentage points) and Greece (1.3 percentage points) registered also a higher share of subsidies in relation to their contribution to gross value added.
The type of subsidies provided to the EU-28’s agricultural industry has changed over time as a result of successive reforms of the CAP, ‘decoupling’ subsidies from particular crops and moving towards a system of single-farm payments.
Subsidies on products in the EU-28 declined from EUR 5.7 billion in 2010 to EUR 3.8 billion by 2014. However, they increased from EUR 4.9 billion in 2015 to 5.3 billion in 2016 with the introduction of certain coupled payments. Subsidies on production in the EU-28 declined by EUR 1.7 billion from 2010 to 2016, changing from EUR 50.9 billion in 2010 to EUR 52.6 billion by 2016 (see Table 4).
Agricultural labour input
The vast majority of the EU’s farms are relatively small, family-run holdings. Often, these holdings draw on family members to provide labour (in addition to the farm holder). Agriculture is also characterised by seasonal labour peaks (for example those linked to harvesting), with high numbers of workers hired for relatively short periods of time. Otherwise, some farmers are occupied on a part-time basis (and they may have alternative, sometimes important sources of income) so while there are a large number of people providing labour within agriculture, many of these will have their main employment elsewhere. For this reason, estimates are made of the volume of labour input provided in terms of full-time labour equivalents (measured in annual work units (AWU).
EU-28 agricultural labour input was estimated at 9.5 million AWUs (the equivalent of 9.5 million people working full-time) in 2016. As shown in Table 5, among the EU Member States, the highest levels of agricultural labour input were recorded for Poland (1.7 million AWUs), Romania (1.6 million AWUs) and Italy (1.1 million AWUs).
Between 2005 and 2016 there was a reduction of one quarter (–25.7 %) in agricultural labour input in the EU-28. The overall contraction of 3.3 million AWUs between 2005 and 2016 was almost exclusively due to a reduction in non-salaried labour input (2.4 million AWUs or 74.3 % of the total labour force input in 2016). Although the volume of agricultural labour input from salaried persons in the EU-28 fell in successive years from 2005 onwards, there was a slight increase in the number of AWUs for salaried persons in 2012, 2015 and in 2016 (see Figure 3).
As shown in Table 5, the total agricultural labour input declined over the period 2010-2016 (– 8.3 %). Only 3 Member States recorded an increase: Slovenia and Lithuania (both + 3.8 %) and Malta (+ 2.0 %), while for the United Kingdom it remained relatively stable. A further 13 Member States registered declines in agricultural labour input, although less marked than for EU-28. The remaining 11 Member States showed steeper decreases, in particular Bulgaria (- 36.8 %), Estonia (- 20.0 %) and Portugal (-19.0 %).
Agricultural income (i.e. factor income) is a key measure for determining the viability of the agricultural sector. The factor income of the agricultural industry (the remuneration of all factors of production: land, capital, labour) in the EU-28 was valued at EUR 152.6 billion in basic price terms in 2016 (see Table 2).
Within agricultural accounts, real factor income per AWU, expressed as an index, is a measure of relative labour productivity. From 2005, the EU-28 index of agricultural income per AWU (2010=100) rose for two consecutive years, before falling back in 2009 (at the height of the financial and economic crisis) to almost the same level as in 2005. Thereafter, the index of real agricultural income per AWU rebounded, with relatively rapid growth in 2010 and 2011. Real agricultural income per AWU in the EU-28 remained relatively high from 2012 to 2016, with values around the 2011 level (see Figure 4).
The overall pattern for the development of real agricultural income per AWU in the EU-28 during the 2005–2016 period can be linked to the development of the two underlying components (income, and labour input) that are used in the construction of the index. EU-28 real factor income per AWU for the agricultural industry fluctuated considerably but in broad terms showed little overall change. This higher factor income was shared amongst a smaller workforce, resulting in stronger rises in average income per AWU.
The variations in real factor income per AWU can be linked to rising commodity prices (in 2007 and again in 2010 and 2011) and the downturn in agricultural activity resulting from the financial and economic crisis (in 2008 and 2009). Some of the biggest changes in EU-28 real factor income per AWU were recorded in 2009 and 2010, (– 9.5 % followed by + 24.8 %) and these were apparent in the overall development of the index for real agricultural income per AWU (see Figure 4). On the other hand, the relatively large declines in agricultural labour input recorded in 2007 and 2010 were also apparent as agricultural income per AWU increased in both years.
A group of eleven EU Member States reported that their index of agricultural income per AWU in 2016 was at a lower level than in 2010 (see Table 6). This group included Denmark (where the biggest contraction in income per AWU was recorded, -39.7 %), Estonia (-34.8 %), Malta (-30.6 %), Finland (-30.5 %) and Belgium (-19.5 %). In the case of Malta, the reduction in agricultural income per AWU could be attributed to a reduction in real factor income combined with an increase in the number of AWUs, whereas in the other three EU Member States it could be largely attributed to a reduction in real factor income alone.
The index of real agricultural income per AWU rose in the EU Member States between 2010 and 2016. Increases were relatively small (below +10.0 %) in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Slovenia. By contrast, the index of agricultural income per AWU (2010=100) increased more than 20 % between 2010 and 2016 in Bulgaria (188.2), Slovakia (173.2), Hungary (163.3), the Czech Republic (155.1), Portugal (130.6), Italy (129.9), Cyprus (125.8), Poland (125.2), Ireland (123.7) and Spain (123.0).
The latest developments from 2015–2016 (see Figure 5) show that the index of real agricultural income per AWU rose by 26.1 % in Poland, while double-digit gains were also recorded in Slovakia (21.3 %), Bulgaria (19.1 %), Portugal (18.0 %), Austria (13.5 %), the Czech Republic (12.7 %), Germany (12.3 %) and Croatia (11.3 %). A majority of Member States saw their real agricultural income per AWU vary by no more than +/- 10 % between 2015 and 2016. In 2016, Estonia ranked first among the countries with the highest decrease (-36.8 %), followed by Malta (-27.9 %), Denmark (- 22.3 %), Lithuania (- 17.1 %) and France (-12.0 %).
EU-28 output prices for agricultural goods rose by 8.7 % in nominal terms from 2010–2016 (see Figure 6). Taking into account price inflation (based on the harmonised index of consumer prices, HICP), the real increase in (deflated) output prices for agricultural goods was 0.9 %. After a period of successive increases from 2010 to 2013, in 2014 the output price indexes of agricultural goods showed a general decrease, reaching 112.4 in 2014, 109.8 in 2015 and 108.7 in 2016 (2010 = 100) nominal prices.
Figure 6 also shows that prices for crop output increased 4.2 % over the period 2010–2016, while for animal output there was a decrease of 2.8 %.
Table 7 presents information on deflated price indices for crop and animal outputs for the 2011–2016 period. For crop output at EU-28 level, the price indexes were lower in 2016 than in 2011 presenting a 3.4 % decrease. This was the case of the majority of EU Member States. Lithuania (– 38.7 %), Slovakia (– 28.7 %) and Latvia (– 25.1 %) were the EU Member States with the sharpest decreases of deflated output prices for crops. By contrast, output prices for crops rose at a relatively fast pace in Malta (+ 22.3 %) and Spain (+ 14.2 %) during the period 2011–2016.
From 2011 to 2016 the output prices for animals decreased by 10.0 % in the EU-28. Decreases occurred in all the EU Member States with the exception of Greece, Cyprus and Sweden (with growth of 0.5%, 4.3% and 1.1% respectively). Lithuania (– -22.6 %), Latvia (– 19.8 %), Belgium (– 17.7 %) and Finland (– 17.1 %) recorded the highest decreases.
Figure 7 provides a comparison between deflated price indices for intermediate consumption and the output of agricultural goods. Deflated prices for intermediate consumption in the EU-28’s agricultural industry decreased by 0.2 % between 2010 and 2016, while the output price index for agricultural goods rose by 0.9 % (over the same period). There does not appear to be any robust link between the developments of these two indices across the EU Member States. In four EU Member States there was a relatively high price increase (over 3.5 %) for both intermediate consumption and the output of agricultural goods (Hungary, Greece, Ireland and Cyprus). In Denmark and Portugal the intermediate consumption recorded a price increase of over 4 % and there was a negative growth in the prices of agricultural goods output.
Data sources and availability
Economic accounts for agriculture (EAA) are a satellite account of the European system of accounts (ESA 2010). They cover the agricultural products and services produced over the accounting period sold by agricultural units, held in stocks on farms, or used for further processing by agricultural producers. The concepts of the EAA are adapted to the particular nature of the agricultural industry: for example, the EAA includes not only the production of grapes and olives but also the production of wine and olive oil by agricultural producers. It includes information on intra unit consumption of crop products used in animal feed, as well as output accounted for by own account production of fixed capital goods and own final consumption of agricultural units.
The EAA comprises a production account, a generation of income account, an entrepreneurial income account and some elements of a capital account. For the production items, EU Member States transmit to Eurostat values at basic prices, as well as their components (values at producer prices, subsidies on products, and taxes on products).
The output of agricultural activity includes output sold (including trade in agricultural goods and services between agricultural units), changes in stocks, output for own final use (own final consumption and own-account gross fixed capital formation), output produced for further processing by agricultural producers, as well as intra-unit consumption of livestock feed products. The output of the agricultural sector is made up of the sum of the output of agricultural products and of the goods and services produced in inseparable non-agricultural secondary activities; animal and crop output are the main product categories of agricultural output.
Three indicators are computed in relation to agricultural income:
- an index of real income of factors in agricultural activity per AWU (indicator A);
- an index of real net agricultural entrepreneurial income, per unpaid AWU (indicator B);
- and the net entrepreneurial income of agriculture (indicator C).
The information presented on agricultural income relates to indicator A (the real income of factors in agriculture per AWU). This indicator corresponds to the real (deflated) net value added at factor cost of agriculture per AWU. Net value added at factor cost is calculated by subtracting from the value of agricultural output at basic prices the value of intermediate consumption, the consumption of fixed capital, and adding the value of (other) subsidies less taxes on production.
Agricultural price statistics provide information on the development of producer (output) prices for agricultural products and purchaser prices for the means of agricultural production (the intermediate consumption of goods and services within the production process). Data on prices are available for single commodities and for larger aggregates in the form of absolute prices and price indices.
The index of producer prices for agricultural products is based on sales of agricultural products, while the input index (for intermediate goods and services) is based on purchases of the means of agricultural production. Prices should be recorded at points which are as close as possible to those of the transactions which the farmer actually undertakes. This means that product prices should be recorded at the first marketing stage so as to best indicate the actual producer prices received by farmers. Similarly the prices paid by farmers for their means of production should be recorded at the last marketing stage, that at which the items arrive on the farm, so as to best indicate the purchase prices paid by farmers. It is assumed, by convention, that the fertilisers and feeding stuffs purchased are used in the same production period and that there are no stocks on farm.
As regards spatial comparisons, the structure of the weights with respect to products and means of production reflect the value of the sales and purchases in each country during the base year (currently 2010=100); the weights therefore differ from one country to another.
One of the principal objectives of the common agricultural policy (CAP) is to provide farmers with a reasonable standard of living. Although this concept is not defined explicitly within the CAP, a range of indicators — including those on income development from farming activities — may be used to determine the progress being made towards this objective. Economic accounts for agriculture (EAA) provide an insight, among others, into:
- the economic viability of agriculture;
- the income received by farmers;
- the structure and composition of agricultural production and intermediate consumption;
- relationships between prices and quantities of both inputs and outputs.
A 2003 reform of the CAP introduced a new system of direct payments, known as the single payment scheme. Its goal was to ensure a safety net for farmers in the form of basic income support, decoupled from production, while stabilising farmer’s incomes from their sales to market (which are subject to volatility). To maximise their profits, farmers were encouraged to respond to market signals — producing goods that consumers want — and to look after the farmland while fulfilling environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards.
The European Commission launched a public debate on the future of the CAP during 2010. Its outcome, coupled with input from the European Council and Parliament, led the Commission to present a Communication in November 2010, titled ‘The CAP towards 2020: meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future's’ (COM (2010) 672 final). This was followed, in October 2011, by a set of legal proposals concerning the future of the CAP. After almost two years of negotiations, a political agreement was reached on 26 June 2013, and these new proposals came into effect as of 1 January 2014. With a budget of EUR 303.1 billion foreseen for the period 2014–20, direct payments will continue to form a significant part of the EU’s agricultural and rural development budget.
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Further Eurostat information
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics — 2017 edition (Statistical book)
- Total agricultural output in the EU down by 2.8% in 2016 compared with 2015 — News release 178/2017
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics — 2016 edition (Statistical book)
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics — 2015 edition (Statistical book)
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics — 2014 edition (Statistical book)
- Agriculture (t_agri), see:
- Economic accounts for agriculture (t_aact)
- Agricultural prices and price indices (t_apri)
- Agriculture (agri), see:
- Economic accounts for agriculture (aact)
- Economic Accounts for Agriculture (aact_eaa)
- Agricultural Labour Input Statistics (aact_ali)
- Unit value statistics for agricultural products (aact_uv)
- Agricultural prices and price indices (apri)
- Selling prices of agricultural products (absolute prices), land prices and rents (apri_ap)
- Price indices of agricultural products (apri_pi)
Methodology / Metadata
- Absolute agricultural prices (ESMS metadata file — apri_ap_esms)
- Economic Accounts for Agriculture (ESMS metadata file — apri_ap_esms)
- Manual on the Economic Accounts for Agriculture and Forestry EAA/EAF 97 (Rev. 1.1)
- Price indices of agricultural products (ESMS metadata file — apri_ap_esms)
- Target methodology for agricultural labour input (ALI) statistics (Rev. 1) (ESMS metadata file — aact_esms)
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)
- Regulation (EC) No 138/2004 of 5 December 2003 concerning economic accounts for agriculture