Agriculture: an essential sector trying to hold on

Agriculture & fishery
Agriculture: an essential sector trying to hold on

The first estimates of farmers’ incomes for the year 2020 made by Statbel [1], the Belgian statistical office, have been submitted to the European Commission (Eurostat).

  • The agricultural production value remained relatively stable between 2019 and 2020 (+0.1 %), while intermediate consumption increased by 2.4 %.
  • The evolution of the production value at basic price varies greatly among the various sectors and sub-sectors: +10.8 % for cereals, -20.7 % for potatoes, +22.2 % for fruit and -8.0 % for the pig industry.

The Covid-19 pandemic had differentiated effects on agriculture which was considered by the authorities as essential. The impact affected both demand, given the consumption changes of citizens, and supply, with a seasonal labour becoming scarce when borders were closed. Moreover, the sector had to face an exceptional drought in the spring followed by a summer that was also dry. The effects were felt at the level of both planting and harvesting, and for farmers there was a growing need of fodder.