Slovakia, catching up but still behind production of crops in comparison with other EU member states

With the new agricultural policy from Brussels (CAP), being implemented as of 2014 (see also Blog of January), it is a good time to look at the level of production of some standard crops in Slovakia compared to other EU members. Since the revolution in 1991 the agricultural sector has seen drastic changes in ownership of agricultural companies and usage of technologies. Restructuring of the sector has resulted in an increase of production per ha. However, further restructuring and capitalisation is needed to bring the sector in line with other EU member states. The tables below clearly shows that with some crops Slovakia is catching up slowly (sugar beets, sunflower seeds, some cereals) but in other crops still lagging behind the other EU member states.

Slovakia-catching-up-but-still-behind-production-of-crops

In cereals, one of the most important crops in Slovakia, production per ha is some 67% of that in the EU-15 member states. Compared to Poland and Rumania its production is slightly higher, compared to its neighbouring countries Austria and Czech Republic is production is substantially less. To optimally use the excellent soils in Slovakia for the production of cereal it is necessary to further increase know-how of crop growing and usage of modern technologies.

sugar-beets-production-slovakiaThe South-West of Slovakia used to be known for production of sugar beets. With several large sugar factories, this part of agriculture was highly productive. After 1991, sugar factories were privatised and sold to large international corporations. As a consequence of low sugar prices, most of the factories were closed in the nineties, leaving producers of sugar beets with ample possibilities to sell their crop. Since 2008, this situation has changed positively. Changes in EU policies and higher market prices for sugar has resulted in more demand for sugar beets from local sugar factories. Due to its excellent soil, production of sugar beets per ha in Slovakia is relatively high, and on 89% of the EU-15 level.

potatoe-production-slovakiaProduction of potatoes in Slovakia is a different story. Although Slovakia has excellent high quality soils for potato production, the problem is mostly with irrigation. Irrigation systems are outdated and local Slovak farms lack the financing to reconstruct or build new systems. When the Slovak state would commit itself to the sector and start to invest in its irrigation systems, Slovakia could become one of the larger producers of potatoes (and vegetables) in Europe. Excellent soil quality and close proximity to export markets such as Czech Republic, Austria and Germany offer Slovakia a unique position for potato (and vegetable) growing. Its current production per ha lacks far behind the EU average and that of countries like Czech Republic and Poland.

Also in other crops, such as rapeseed (59% of EU-15 production level) corn (55%) improvement will be made to bring up production to EU levels. One exception is sunflower seeds. With some 1.8 ton per ha, Slovakia is on the same level as the EU-15 member states (1.9 ton per ha).

The production numbers mentioned above are averages. Also in Slovakia, several well run farms (including a group of foreign owned farms) achieve levels that are certainly comparable to those in other EU member states. These farms have invested in new technologies, know-how and in some cases in new irrigation systems. They form a clear example of the possibilities in the Slovak agriculture sector.

Source: Eurostat

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