Statistics Explained

European Neighbourhood Policy - East - agriculture statistics

Data extracted in April 2021.

Planned article update: March 2022.

Highlights

In 2019, the contribution of agriculture, forestry and fisheries to total gross value added in the ENP East countries varied between 13 % in Armenia and 6 % in Azerbaijan, compared with 2 % in the EU.

In Armenia, employment in agriculture, forestry and fisheries as a share of total employment fell from 39 % in 2009 to 22 % in 2019, but rose from 10 % in 2010 to 11 % in 2019 in Belarus.

Ukraine produced more cereals (excluding rice) for the production of grain (including seed), potatoes and oil seeds in 2019 than any of the EU Member States.


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This article is part of an online publication and provides a description of the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in the European Union (EU) and in the six countries that together form the European Neighbourhood Policy-East (ENP-East) region, namely, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Data shown for Georgia exclude the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia over which Georgia does not exercise control and the data shown for Moldova exclude areas over which the government of the Republic of Moldova does not exercise control. The latest data for Ukraine generally exclude the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol and the territories which are not under control of the Ukrainian government (see specific footnotes for precise coverage).

The article focuses on several aspects: the contribution of agriculture, forestry and fishing to the total economy (in terms of gross value added and employment), the production of cereals, livestock populations, meat production and international trade in food and live animals.


Full article

Gross value added and employment

Between 2009 and 2019, the gross value added and employment shares of the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector generally declined in the ENP-East countries (subject to data availability), although there were increases in the value added shares in Moldova and Ukraine and in the employment shares in Belarus (2010-2019). These activities continued to account for a relatively high proportion of total economic activity in the ENP-East countries. While the output of agriculture, forestry and fishing in the EU accounted for 1.8 % of total gross value added in 2019, its share ranged from 6.3 % in Azerbaijan to 13.3 % in Armenia (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Gross value added from agriculture, forestry and fishing, 2009 and 2019
(% share on total gross value added)
Source: Eurostat (enpe_nama_10_a10) and (nama_10_a10)

In 2019, the share of employment in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in the total workforce was 11.1 % in Belarus — the lowest proportion among the ENP-East countries — while more than one third of the workforce was employed in this sector in Georgia (38.2 %) and Azerbaijan (36.0 %). Thus, the proportion of people working in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Georgia was nine times as high as in the EU, where 4.1 % of the working population were employed in these activities (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Employment in agriculture, forestry and fishing, 2009 and 2019
(% share on total employment)
Source: Eurostat (lfsa_egan2)

Land use

The area within each country that is used for farming varies according to climate, terrain and soil type, while the level of economic development and population density may also play a role in determining land use. Within the EU roughly equal proportions of land (more than 38 % of the total area) are used for farming and for forest and woodland, with the remainder of the land being built-up areas (villages, towns and cities), infrastructure (such as roads or railways), scrub or waste land. The proportion of land that is given over to agriculture in several ENP-East countries was substantially higher than the proportion observed in the EU (see Figure 3). For example, nearly 70 % of the total area of Armenia and Ukraine was used for agriculture in 2019. This was particularly noteworthy in Ukraine which is a relatively large country in terms of its total area: indeed, some 41 million hectares of land were used for agricultural activities in Ukraine, equivalent to just under one quarter of the total utilised agricultural area of the EU.

Figure 3: Utilised agricultural area, 2009 and 2019
(% share on total area)
Source: Eurostat (enpe_ef_lus_main), (apro_cpsh1) and (reg_area3)

Crop production

Compared with the other ENP-East countries, Ukraine had by far the highest production of cereals (excluding rice) for the production of grain (including seed), of potatoes and of oil seeds (see Table 1). Indeed, Ukraine produced more cereals (74 million tonnes), potatoes (20 million tonnes) and oil seeds (22 million tonnes) in 2019 than any of the EU Member States. When comparing to 2009, the production of cereals in Ukraine had increased by 64 % in 2019, while the production of oilseeds more than doubled. In comparison, the production of potatoes remained relatively stable (+3 %).

Moldova also reported a large increase in the production of cereals (+63 %) and of oilseeds (+137 %) in 2019 compared to 2009. However, in the same period, the production of potatoes dropped substantially (-32 %).

Armenia (wheat, rye and barley only) and Georgia were the smallest producers of cereals among the ENP-East countries in 2019, each recording output below half a million tonnes. Cereals production in Armenia decreased substantially in 2019 compared to 2009 (-47 %), while in Georgia it remained relatively stable (-1 %).

These two countries plus Moldova were also the smallest producers of potatoes among the ENP-East countries in 2019. All of these three countries registered drops in the production of potatoes between 2009 and 2019, especially in Armenia and Moldova (both -32 %).

Azerbaijan was the only country, together with Ukraine, to register increases in the production of cereals, of potatoes and of oilseeds from 2009 to 2019. In particular, the production of oilseeds more than doubled.

Table 1: Harvested crop production, 2009, 2014 and 2019
(thousand tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (enpe_apro_cpnh1) and (apro_cpsh1)

Livestock: population structure and production

The structure of livestock populations in the ENP-East countries is presented in Figure 4. Collectively, there were more cattle than pigs in the ENP-East countries in 2019, while in the EU the opposite was observed. Farmers in Belarus were specialised in raising cattle, while in Azerbaijan the most common form of livestock was sheep. In Georgia and Armenia the number of cattle was similar to the number of sheep. Moldova (no data for sheep and goats) and Ukraine reported a higher number of pigs. Azerbaijan had the highest share of goats among the ENP-East countries, closely followed by Ukraine. Some of these differences between countries may reflect religious or cultural practices.

Figure 4: Livestock population, December 2019
(% share on total number of heads)
Source: Eurostat (enpe_apro_mt_ls), (apro_mt_lscatl), (apro_mt_lspig), (apro_mt_lssheep) and (apro_mt_lsgoat)

The structure of animal output — as measured by the quantity of slaughtered production — differs from the structure of the animal populations, in large part because a proportion of cattle, sheep and goats are reared for milk rather than for meat. In Armenia and Azerbaijan, cattle accounted for the highest quantity of slaughtered production in 2019, while in Moldova the largest quantity came from pigs and in Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine from poultry (see Table 2).

Compared to 2009, the levels of poultry slaughtering increased substantially in all ENP-East countries, the most noticeable for Armenia and Belarus where it more than doubled in the period to 2019 (+124 % and +123 % respectively). The quantity of slaughtered pigs also increased substantially in 2019 compared to 2009 in most of the ENP-East countries. The exceptions were Azerbaijan and Belarus. Regarding cattle, the situation was more balanced. In Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, the slaughtered production of cattle decreased substantially (-32 %, -24 % and -19 % respectively), while in Armenia (+37 %), Azerbaijan (+35 %) and Belarus (+7 %) it showed a positive trend.

Table 2: Slaughtered animal production, 2009, 2014 and 2019
(thousand tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (enpe_apro_mt_p) and (apro_mt_pann)

Trade in food and live animals

The value of international trade in food and live animals has grown at a rapid pace over the last decade in most of the ENP-East countries. This may in part be due to increased prices, as the values shown in Tables 3 and 4 are presented in current price terms. Fluctuating prices for raw and processed foodstuffs may have a considerable impact on the trade position of a country, while climatic conditions can affect yields and determine if there is a surplus of food for export.

Table 3: Imports of food and live animals, 2009-2019
(million EUR)
Source: Eurostat (enpe_ext_sitc) and (ext_st_eu27_2020sitc)

When Table 3 and Table 4 are compared, it can be seen that the EU moved from a trade deficit for food and live animals products in 2009 to a consistent trade surplus over the period 2010-2019; note that the trade data presented for the EU concern extra-EU trade and the trade data presented for the ENPE-East countries refer to imports/exports from/to all countries of the world. Ukraine recorded a trade surplus for food and live animals throughout the period 2009-2019, rising from a surplus of EUR 1.7 billion in 2009 to 9.1 billion in 2019. Belarus also recorded a trade surplus throughout the period, with a peak at EUR 1.4 billion in 2019. Moldova moved from recording a deficit between 2009 and 2013 to a surplus between 2014 and 2019. In contrast, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia recorded trade deficits for food and live animals during the whole decade.

Imports of food and live animals to Armenia were four times as high in 2019 as in 2009, while imports to Azerbaijan were three times as high and imports to Belarus, Georgia and Moldova at least doubled. For comparison, imports of food and live animals to the EU increased by 61 % in the same period.

Collectively, the exports of food and live animals from ENP-East countries were valued at EUR 18.7 billion in 2019, equivalent to 15.0 % of the value for the EU, while the value of imports of these goods to the ENP-East countries was EUR 10.6 billion, equivalent to 9.9 % of the EU value.

Table 4: Exports of food and live animals, 2009-2019
(million EUR)
Source: Eurostat (enpe_ext_sitc) and (ext_st_eu27_2020sitc)

The highest value of food and live animals exports among the ENP-East countries in 2019 was recorded in Ukraine (EUR 12.7 billion). This was almost three times the value of exports from Belarus, which recorded the second highest value. Georgia and Armenia had the lowest values of food and live animals exports among the ENP-East countries in 2019, with EUR 254 million and EUR 286 million respectively.

Exports of food and live animals from Armenia were almost nine times as high in 2019 as their level in 2009, while exports from Belarus and Ukraine were three times as high (despite the change in geographical coverage for Ukraine), exports from Moldova were two and a half times as high and exports from Azerbaijan and Georgia more than doubled. For comparison, exports from the EU almost doubled in the same period.

Data sources

The data for ENP-East countries are supplied by and under the responsibility of the national statistical authorities of each country on a voluntary basis. The data presented in this article result from an annual data collection cycle that has been established by Eurostat. These statistics are available free-of-charge on Eurostat’s website, together with a range of different indicators covering most socio-economic areas.

Statistics on crop production relate to harvested production. Cereals include wheat (common wheat and spelt and durum wheat), rye, maslin, barley, oats, mixed grain other than maslin, grain maize, sorghum, triticale, and other cereal crops such as buckwheat, millet, canary seed and rice.

Meat production is based on the activity of slaughterhouses regarding meat fit for human consumption.

The data for the EU presented in this article come from Eurostat‘s online database, including trade data from Comext.

Tables in this article use the following notation:

':' not available, confidential or unreliable value

Context

Agriculture was one of the first sectors of the economy (following coal and steel) to receive the attention of EU policymakers, and statistics on agriculture were initially designed to monitor the main objectives of the Common agricultural policy (CAP). While the CAP remains one of the EU’s most important policies, it has undergone a widespread evaluation, which has led to a range of new objectives designed to correct imbalances and overproduction.

In December 2013, a reform of the CAP was formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The main objectives of the CAP for the period 2014-2020 was to strengthen the competitiveness of the sector, promote sustainable farming and innovation, to support jobs and growth in rural areas and to move financial assistance towards the productive use of land.

In 2018, the European Commission presented legislative proposals for a new, reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) beyond 2020. The reformed CAP should be key to helping the European Union achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal, and 40 % of the funds allocated to the CAP over the next 7-years programming period should be dedicated to actions contributing towards these.

The reformed CAP will help European farmers to contribute more decisively to tackling climate change, protecting the environment and moving to more sustainable and resilient food systems. It will generate economic opportunities for farmers and improve their position in the food supply chain, and better link support for farm income and rural areas to the take-up of sustainable models and practices.

For the years 2021-22, a transitional regulation (Regulation (EU) 2020/2220) is in force, extending and amending provisions set out in the preceding regulations. It will remain in force until the new framework of CAP strategic plans is implemented (due to begin on 1 January 2023).

On 18 November 2015, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission jointly presented a review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (SWD(2015) 500 final) which set out a revised approach for the EU in relation to its eastern and southern neighbours, based on stabilising the region in political, economic, and security-related terms.

In cooperation with its ENP partners, Eurostat has the responsibility ‘to promote and implement the use of European and internationally recognised standards and methodology for the production of statistics, necessary for developing and monitoring policy achievements in all policy areas’. Eurostat undertakes the task of coordinating EU efforts to increase the statistical capacity of the ENP countries. Additional information on the policy context of the ENP is provided here.

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