We lost 900,000 farmers in 10 years

Employment in the agriculture sector – down by 25 pc between 2000 and 2009 in the EU.

Between 2000 and 2009, employment in the agricultural sector in the EU27 decreased by 25%, the equivalent of 3.7 million full-time jobs, Eurostat informs in a press release. It fell by 17% in the EU15 and by 31% in the 12 Member States that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. In 2009, employment in the agricultural sector was equivalent to 11.2 million full-time jobs in the EU27, of which 5.4 million were in the EU15 and 5.8 million in the other 12 countries. Between 2000 and 2009, real agricultural income per worker increased by 5% on average in the EU27, although the change differed significantly between the new member states (+61%) and the EU15 (-10%). In 2009, the five member states with the highest employment in the agricultural sector accounted for almost two thirds of the EU27 total: Poland (20% of EU27 employment in agricultural sector, the equivalent of 2.2 million full-time workers), Romania (19% and 2.1 million), Italy (10% and 1.2 million), Spain and France (both 8% and 0.9 million). Between 2000 and 2009, employment in the agricultural sector fell in all Member States.

In general, the largest decreases were found among the NMS12: Estonia (-55%), Bulgaria (-48%) and Slovakia (-43%). The smallest decreases were registered in Greece (-3%) and Ireland (-4%). Among the five Member States with the highest employment in the agricultural sector, employment fell by 11% in Poland, 41% in Romania, 16% in Italy and 17% in both Spain and France. The highest increases were found in Latvia (+140%), Estonia (+131%), Poland (+107%), the United Kingdom (+71%) and Lithuania (+70%), and the largest decreases in Denmark (-46%), Italy and Luxembourg (both -36%), Ireland (-30%) and the Netherlands (-28%). Between 2008 and 2009, real agricultural income per worker fell by 12% in the EU27. The largest decreases were found in Hungary (-32%), Luxembourg (-25%), Ireland (-24%), Germany and Italy (both -21%), and the highest increases in Malta (+8%) and Denmark (+4%).

3,500 farmers to picket government

Approximately 3,500 farmers will protest today in Victoria Square, for two hours. According to the president of the Agrostar Federation, Nicolae Stefan, quoted by Mediafax, farmers’ protest is not related to the agreement with the IMF. Farmers call for an end to tax evasion, free access to European funds, the granting of back payments from the subventions and reducing the gasoline tax.

Ten farming machines will also be brought at the farmers’ meeting in Victoria Square, and protesters will ask for the removal of the entire board of the Ministry of Agriculture, because of their failure to take measures to get the sector out of recession. “I think this is the last action the farmers take within a legal framework, people can no longer be contained, they will end up blocking European roads starting June 1 unless problems in this sector are solved,” Stefan said. He added that the farmers are paid their subventions one year later and that more than half of Romanian farmers are on the verge of shutting off businesses because of a dramatic drop in the sale of agricultural produce.

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