Large farms in Europe: Less than 1 %
of European farms occupy 20 % of usable land according to Eurostat, the
statistics office of the European Union.
Eurostat says the ongoing revision
of the Common Agricultural Policy brings into focus the size of farms in the
European Union. To measure the size of farms, different variables can be taken
into account such as the economic performance, the labour force working on the
farm, the production or the area.
Finfacts reported last week that in
March, agriculture ministers refused to cap payments to big farmers and
companies, which take the lion's share of the welfare budget.
Eurostat publication, (pdf) the Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA) is chosen
for classifying farms by size in each country. This classification provides the
basis for a comparative study on the significance of the larger farms in the EU
27, Norway and Switzerland,
using the 2007 data from the Farm Structure Survey (FSS).
In Switzerland ( outside the EU) the average size of the larger
farms (54 ha - hectare) is three times the average size of all farms (17 ha),
while in countries such as Bulgaria (3,128 ha vs 6 ha), Romania (1,802 ha vs 3
ha) and Hungary (3,164 ha vs 7 ha), the average area of the larger farms is
close to 500 times the average size of all farms.
In Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria the group
of larger farms covering 20 % of the total UAA have an average area of over 3,
000 ha. Within the old Member States (EU 15), Greece, with an average area of 64
ha for the larger farms, has the lowest average area while the United Kingdom is
the only country showing an average area over 2 000 ha for the group of larger
farms. Eurostat says this can be explained for the United Kingdom by the fact
that larger farms specialise in grazing livestock extensively.
Finfacts article: US farm subsidies face cuts; Europe's sacred cows safe despite
rising food prices
The Eurozone (EA17) includes
Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus,
Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and
The EU27 includes Belgium (BE),
Bulgaria (BG), the Czech Republic (CZ), Denmark (DK), Germany (DE), Estonia
(EE), Ireland (IE), Greece (EL), Spain (ES), France (FR), Italy (IT), Cyprus
(CY), Latvia (LV), Lithuania (LT), Luxembourg (LU), Hungary (HU), Malta (MT),
the Netherlands (NL), Austria (AT), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Romania (RO),
Slovenia (SI), Slovakia (SK), Finland (FI), Sweden (SE) and the United Kingdom