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For the period of latest decades Great Britain’s agriculture saw a significant increase in scientific and technical level and profitability of agro-industrial complex. Countries support kites at the cost of local resources (the growth since postwar time rose from 1/3 to 4/5); a full self-sufficiency is reached by such products as milk, a high self-sufficiency have eggs, poultry, wheat, oats, barley, and potato; imported are fruits, butter, sugar, and cheeses. Due to conditions occurred in the EU imported goods cost more as compared to opportunities of foodstuffs import from the former colonies; this creates continuous controversies between Great Britain and other members of the UE.

The British agriculture is nowadays one of the most efficient and mechanized in the world. The share of employment in the field amounts 2% of the total employment in the country. The total area of farmlands is 58.3 mln ha (76% of the total area of the country). Animal husbandry prevails in the structure of agricultural production. Developed are dairy and beef cattle breeding, pig husbandry, beef sheep and poultry husbandry for meat.

Great Britain is one of the largest suppliers of sheep wool. Traditionally, animal husbandry is concentrated in river basins. Nearly 60% of tillage in crop husbandry is occupied by permanent grasses, more than 28% - by cereal crops (including wheat – 15%, barley – 11%), 12% - by industrial crops (rapeseed, sugar beet, flax) and feeding crops (including potato), and also by vegetable gardens and small-fruit crops. The main crop-producing areas are East England and the Southeast.

There are many fruit gardens in Great Britain. Agriculture uses generous government support and receives donations from the EU budget.

Production volumes exceed the volumes of consumption by such products as wheat, barley, oats, and pork; production volumes are lower than the volume of consumption by such products as potato, beef, mutton, wool, sugar and eggs. Therefore, Great Britain has to import many of the necessary products. The country imports 4/5 of butter, 2/3 of sugar, a half of wheat and bacon, ¼ of beef and veal consumed in the country.

The country occupies sixth place among EU members in terms of agricultural production volume. The area of farmlands in use as of June 2007 amounted to 17.4 mln ha, which makes nearly 77% of the countries area.

General dynamics of the British agriculture development in 2007 in terms of the main agricultural items cost at market prices had the following indices: wheat production increased by 21.9% (to 1.3 bln pounds sterling); barley production – by 39.7% (to 538.5 mln P.St); production of vegetable oil – by 35.8% (to 421.5 mln P.St), production of sugar beet fell 3.5% (to 171.9 mln P.St) (see Table 1); production of fresh vegetables rose 5.3% having reached 1.1 mln P.St; production of plants and flowers climbed 4.0% (to 781.5 mln P.St); potato production increased by 6.9% (to 664 mln P.St); production of fresh fruits – by 16.1% (to 445 mln P.St); pork production by - 7.3% (to 775 mln P.St); production of beef – by 4.9% (to 1.7 bln P.St); mutton production decreased by 7.8% (to 628 mln P.St); production of poultry remained at the level of the previous year (1.2 bln P.St); milk production went up 13.3% (to 2.8 bln P.St); production of eggs – by 13.5% (to 410 mln P.St).

Table 1 Certain indicators of crop husbandry in Great Britain in 2004-2007


area (thous. ha) harvesting capacity (centner/ha) production volume (mln.tons) area (thous. ha) harvesting capacity (centner/ha) production volume (mln.tons) area (thous. ha) harvesting capacity (centner/ha) production volume (mln.tons) area (thous. ha) harvesting capacity (centner/ha) production volume (mln.tons)
Potato 42,0 6,2 43,7 6,0 40,8 5,7 40,2 5,6
Sugar beet 9,0 8,7 7,4 7,5
Rapeseed 1,6 1,9 1,9 2,1
Beans 0,6 0,7 0,6 0,4
Peas 0,2 0,2 0,1 0,1


Cereal crops occupied 2.9 mln ha in 2007, which is 2% less as compared to the previous year (see Table 2).

Table 2 Dynamics of production and consumption of cereal crops, thous. tons

  average 1996-98 2007 (appraisal)
Area (thous.hà) 2 920
Gathered products 21 005
Products cost at market prices (mln. P.St) 1 415
Deliveries and consumption of products
Imported from: EU and other countries 2 051
Exported to: EU and other countries 3 103
Total volume of deliveries 20 325
Measurement of farmer and other supplies -2054 - 388 -52 -1390
Total home consumption 20 712


The profit of the British agriculture grew 10% and reached 2.5 bln P. St. in 2007 as compared to the previous year; production grew 8.4% and reached 15 bln P. St.

As of June 2007, 526 thous workers were employed in agriculture, which was 1.5% less than in the similar period of 2006. The number of managers decreased 5.5%, workers – by 1.8%, the number of farm enterprises and commercial organizations fell by 1.6% (see Table 3).


Table 3 The number of workers employed in agriculture, thous people


Regular full-time employees
Regular part-time employees
Seasonal workers
Managerial staff
Farmers and their partners
Total number


Production growth in animal husbandry amounted to 2.8% (5.2 bln. P. St. in terms of value) in 2007, which was mainly due to price rise for finished products and increase in the share of more mature stock subjected to slaughter. Milk production increased by 13% (to 2.8 bln P. St.), production of eggs rose by 13% (0.4 bln P.St).

2007 was marked by outbreaks in poultry and cattle. In winter 2007 there were registered outbreaks of avian influenza in Suffolk County; and in the period of August-September 2007 there were registered outbreaks of aphthous fever among cattle in Surrey County and in a number of farm enterprises. This resulted in decrease in production of farm products.

For the period of 2007 a number of foodstuffs on the British domestic market demonstrated a significant growth in retail price indices. The most significant growth was observed in prices for butter, eggs, fresh milk and bread (see Table 4).


Table 4 Retail price index in December 2007 as compared to the similar period of 2006


Unfavorable weather conditions in June-July affected the British agriculture a lot, particularly floods in Yorkshire, Humberside, East and West Midlands, and also in the Southeast of the country.

In flooded areas cereal crops were practically ruined. In a number of places floods heavily affected the quality of grain. Precipitations, which exceeded an average norm 2.5 times, also created favorable conditions for sprawling of agriculture crops diseases (late blight disease of potato, lodging of bread crops, leguminous plants putrefaction), and caused delay of crop ripening.

By the end of July 2007, subsidy payment to farmers in accordance with Subsidization plan of 2006 was implemented at more than 96%. 2007 saw adoption of the new Rural DevelopmentProgramme for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland 2007-2013, with total amount of targeted financing at the rate of 2.7 bln euro.


Source: IRUE "National center of marketing and price study"

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Winnie-The-Pooh and All, All, All

Date: 2014-12-29; view: 550

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