Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

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In OECD countries, agriculture uses on average over 40% of land and water resources, and thus has significant affect on the environment. This report provides the latest and most comprehensive data and analysis on the environmental performance of agriculture in OECD countries since 1990. It covers key environmental themes including soil, water, air and biodiversity and looks at recent policy developments in all 30 countries.

Over recent years the environmental performance of agriculture has improved in many countries, largely due to consumer pressure and changing public opinion. Many OECD countries are now tracking the environmental performance of agriculture, which is informing policy makers and society on the trends in agri-environmental conditions, and can provide a valuable aid to policy analysis. The indicators in this report provide crucial information to monitor and analyse the wide range of policy measures used in agriculture today, and how they are affecting the environment. 

Did You Know?  In OECD countries, agriculture uses on average 40% of land and water resources.

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OECD Country Trends of Environmental Conditions related to Agriculture since 1990: Greece

Agriculture continues to occupy an important position in the economy, but its contribution is declining. Between the early 1990s and 2004 the share of agriculture in GDP declined from 14% to 7% and the share of farm employment in total employment from 22% to 15% [1, 2]. Farming accounted for two-thirds of total land use and nearly 90% of water use in 2001-03 (Figure 3.10.1). While the overall volume of farm production changed little between 1990-92 and 2002-04, the volume of crop production rose by 2.6% but livestock production declined by 2.1% (Figure 3.10.2). Moreover, the intensity of production increased and agricultural productivity improved [3, 4]. The rise in crop production was mainly accounted for by higher output of notably olives, vines for wine, cotton and some horticultural crops, as overall livestock production declined, although poultry, sheep and goat numbers rose [1]. There was a 2% decrease in the area farmed between 1990-2 and 2002-04 but the use of inputs increased during this period including for pesticides (39%), water (33%) and energy (10%), but inorganic fertiliser use (nitrogen and phosphorus) decreased by around –40%. Small family plots of less than 5 hectares, compared to the EU15 average of over 16 hectares, account for three quarters of farmland, and around 60% of farms are situated on hilly or mountainous terrain [5].

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