Agriculture: an essential sector trying to hold on

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

The second 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 (-0.6 %), while intermediate consumption increased by 2.4 %.
  • The evolution of the production value at basic price is rather uneven among the various sectors and sub-sectors:  +11.2 % for cereals, -20.7 % for potatoes, +18.0 % for fruit and -7.8 % 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.

[1] In cooperation with the regional authorities and experts.