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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: Netherlands

Overall the agricultural sector has been contracting, with a reduction in the volume of production of nearly –10% and in the area farmed by –3% over the period 1990-92 to 2002-04. As a consequence the share of primary agriculture was around 2% of GDP and 2.5% of employment in 2003 [1] (Figure 3.19.1). However, within this overall decrease there has been an expansion in the horticultural sector, which now contributes around 40% of agricultural gross value added [1]. Agriculture makes intensive use of inputs resulting in high crop and livestock yields in comparison to most other OECD countries [1]. Livestock densities per hectare are among the highest in the OECD [2]. Purchased farm input use has in general declined more rapidly than agricultural production, suggesting that production intensity is diminishing and economic efficiency increasing over the period 1990-92 to 2002-04 (Figure 3.19.2). For example, the volume of inorganic fertiliser use fell by –36% for phosphorus, and –27% for nitrogen, and pesticides fell by over –50%. In contrast, direct on-farm energy consumption rose by 5%, largely reflecting the growth in the horticultural sector.

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