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: Japan

Agriculture’s contribution to the economy is small. The agricultural sector currently accounts for about 1% of GDP and 6% of employment [1] (Figure 3.15.1). With a high GDP per capita and one of the most densely populated countries in the OECD, Japan is a major net importer of agricultural products. Rice accounts for 55% of total agricultural land providing 25% of gross farm output value. Horticultural and arable crops account for 68% of farm output value with livestock providing a further 28%. Average farm size is less than 2 hectares, small relative to other OECD countries, and agricultural income accounts for only around 13% of total farm household income [2]. Agriculture makes intensive use of purchased inputs by OECD standards, but the total volume of farm production and farm inputs between 1990-92 to 2002-04 has decreased (Figure 3.15.2). Use of inorganic fertilisers has declined by –18% for nitrogen fertilisers and by –27% for phosphorus fertilisers; pesticide use declined by –27%; on-farm energy use by –5%; water use by –3%, while the volume of farm production also decreased by –11%, mainly due to lower crop production –17%, compared to the reduction in livestock –6% [1].

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