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: Luxembourg

Agriculture’s contribution to the economy has been small but stable in absolute terms since 1990, such that by 2003-05 the sector contributed 0.5% to GDP and 1.3% of employment, among the lowest shares across OECD countries [1] (Figure 3.17.1). While agricultural value added (annual growth at current prices) remained stable over the period 1990 to 2004 (allowing for temporary fluctuations), in real terms it increased over the period 1986 to 1998, but from 1998 to 2003 it was the only sector in the economy where growth declined by nearly 5% per annum [1, 2]. The area farmed increased by about 1.5% from 1990-92 to 2002-04, now accounting for over 50% of the total land area (Figure 3.17.2). Much of the increase in area cultivated was accounted for by the growth in area under pasture and maize silage, with the area under cereals declining [3, 4]. But some of the apparent expansion in area farmed is, in part, due to improvements in the land registration system linked to changes in agricultural policy. There was an increase in the production of bovine animals (for slaughterings and export of live animals) in the first half of the 1990s, and a slight decrease from 1996 onwards, especially in 2001 due to the BSE crisis. The production of pigs (for slaughtering and export as live animals) increased significantly in the 1990s and went through a cyclic variation from 1999 to 2004 reaching a minimum in 2002. Milk production was remarkably stable over the period 1990 to 2004, due to the EU-wide system of limitation of production. As the milk yield per cow has risen considerably during this period, the number of milk cows has declined [1].

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