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: Hungary

Primary agriculture continues to play an important role in the economy, but there has been a major contraction of the sector over the period since 1990. Agriculture’s share of GDP declined from nearly 14% in 1989 down to just under 3% by 2004, while over the same period farming’s share of employment fell from around 17% to slightly over 5% by 2004 [1, 2, 3] (Figure 3.11.1). These changes are reflected in the –14% reduction in the volume of agricultural production (1990-92 to 2002-04), the largest decrease across OECD countries (Figure 3.11.2). Over the more recent period, from 2000 to 2005, production has increased slightly, especially for cereals, but declined for some livestock products, especially milk production [4]. The transition from a centrally planned to a market economy over the period 1990 to 2005 has had significant implications for agriculture. The fundamental change in political and social institutions as well as economic conditions, with a shift from a centrally planned to market economy, has affected how land use decisions are made, and led to extensive changes in farm ownership patterns, productivity and competitiveness [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Overall the sharp fall in the volume of farm production during the early 1990s was induced by a major reduction in agricultural production and input support (see below), a drop in agricultural investment, and rising farm debt levels. Private family farms saw their share of the area farmed rise from around 15% in the early 1990s to over 50% by 2003-04, with a corresponding reduction in the share for large corporate farms (privatised successors of former state and co-operative farms) [11].

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