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Farmer Protests Grip 12 EU Countries, Key Contributors to 50% of EU's Food Production

Source: 1prime.ru
584 EN 中文 DE FR AR
Protests by farmers in the European Union have now spread to twelve countries, collectively responsible for producing over half of the region's meat and approximately 40% of its grain, as well as one-third of the world's olives and grapes, according to data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as reported by RIA Novosti.
 Farmer Protests Grip 12 EU Countries, Key Contributors to 50% of EU's Food Production
Farmer protests in Europe have been ongoing for several years, with the first demonstrations occurring in the Netherlands in 2019. Local agrarians expressed discontent over government plans to reduce nitrogen emissions, primarily targeting the agricultural sector. In subsequent years, protests erupted in Poland in spring 2023, fueled by dissatisfaction with significant imports of cheap agricultural products from Ukraine. The issue of inexpensive imports became a focal point in several countries, including Romania and Lithuania.

The discontent took a more widespread turn towards the end of the previous year, driven by rising fuel and fertilizer costs, coupled with a slump in farm produce prices in France, Germany, Greece, and Italy. The actual cost of agricultural products in the EU declined for two consecutive quarters, dropping by 13.3% in the third quarter of 2023 and 4.2% in the previous quarter.

However, the primary catalyst for protests remains the regulated nature of the agricultural sector. "Green" agendas, inadequate funding from the budget, and plans to reduce fuel subsidies have united farmers from the aforementioned countries, as well as Portugal, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Spain, with participants from the latter two joining the protests this week.

What These Countries Produce:

The countries experiencing farmer protests collectively produced nearly half of all food in Europe in 2022. Among these nations, France is the largest food producer in Europe, accounting for 11%, followed by Germany (9.8%), Poland (6.6%), Spain (5.4%), and Italy (4.9%).

Grains form the backbone of agriculture in the region, with the protesting countries harvesting 205 million tons in 2022—40% of all grain in the region and 7% worldwide. This includes 46% of all rye globally, a quarter of barley, 13% of wheat, and 4% of maize. The primary producers of grains are France, Germany, and Poland, collectively responsible for a quarter of the grain harvested in Europe in 2022.

Additionally, these protesting countries contribute 35 million tons of meat, representing about 56% of production in Europe and 10% globally. The major volumes come from pork (18 million tons) and poultry (9 million tons), with the local turkey industry holding a significant 36% share in global production. Meat production is concentrated in Spain and Germany, accounting for just under a third of the region's production.

Farmers in these states cultivate 87% of grapes and 68% of olives in the region, corresponding to a third of global output. The largest grape cultivators are Italy, Spain, and France, while olive production is concentrated in Spain and Greece. Moreover, these twelve states produce one-third of the world's sugar beets, essential for sugar production, as well as 21% of kiwi, 15% of cherries, 12% of peaches, and 8% of oranges.
Lee Mielke
Lee Mielke
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Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith
Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California
20.02.2024
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February 2024
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