What has changed in Portuguese Agriculture over the last ten years
15 December 2010
Statistics Portugal disseminates the first results of the Agricultural Census 2009 (RA 09), by comparison with the previous one - 1999 Agricultural Census (RGA 99). It is the 2nd largest census operation performed in Portugal, which involved a team of 2,100 employees and an estimated cost of EUR 16.9 million.
Holdings still occupy half of the geographical area of the country, but during the last ten years 112,000 farms disappeared, and their area decreased by more than 450,000 hectares. The average agricultural area (UAA) per holding increased by 2.5 hectares, standing at 11.9 hectares. Even so, around 75% of the holdings are still operating below 5 hectares of UAA.
The agricultural landscape has changed significantly, shifting its focus to extensive production systems, by decreasing the arable land surface, growing the permanent pasture that occupies half of the UAA, and reducing the number of livestock.
The profile of the typical holder reinforces the importance of the social role of this activity, where 80% of the agricultural labour force is done by family. However the holdings being a legal entity, which represent only 2%, are already responsible for managing 25% of UAA.