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Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

image of Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

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: Mexico

Agriculture plays an important but declining role in the Mexican economy. In 2003 primary agriculture accounted for about 5% of GDP and 16% of employment compared to 8% and 27% respectively in 1990 [1] (Figure 3.18.1). Nevertheless, 25% of Mexico’s 103 million population live and work in rural, largely agricultural, areas. The rural population has increased by nearly 2 million over the past decade [2]. Mexico’s agricultural sector is one of the most rapidly growing among OECD countries. The volume of agricultural production rose by 34% between 1990-92 and 2002-04, with crop production increasing by 26% and livestock 51% (Figures 3.18.2 and 3.18.3). The area farmed rose by 3%; while the volume of inputs also increased by 22% for pesticides, and 21% for direct on-farm energy consumption, although the use of phosphorus fertilisers remained stable, and nitrogen fertiliser use declined (–5%), as did the use of water (–10%) (Figures 3.18.2 and 3.18.4). Production is expanding by improving efficiency and increasing use of capital-intensive technologies. Nevertheless, farming is characterised by diverse structure and production systems. Large commercial arable farms, largely in the north, are capital intensive and rely on irrigation and purchased inputs. There are also range fed cattle and intensive pig and poultry operations in the north. Subsistence farms, mainly in the centre and south, grow staples such as maize and beans. The southern tropical zone has plantations and subsistence producers of coffee, sugarcane and bananas [2, 3].

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