Development Trends and Prospects
DEVELOPMENT TRENDS AND PROSPECTS
DEVELOPMENT OF PRODUCTION
Slovak agriculture passed through a diffi cult development after the year 1990, when it had to adapt to conditions of the market economy and restrictions of public support. During this period agricultural production decreased and in this way adapted to a domestic demand infl uenced by the lower purchasing power of population and by changes that occurred in the structure of consumption and in consumer behaviour of the population. Since the year 1995 the level of production has stabilised.
In the years 2000 and 2003 agricultural production, and in particular plant production, was affected by extraordinarily dry weather, which infl uenced total agricultural production and the economic situation of farms. The amount of gross agricultural production in the year 2004 (according to preliminary estimates) will reach almost SKK 70 billion in current prices, i.e. an increase of 118% compared with the previous year.
In the year 2004 natural conditions were more favourable for agricultural production, and farmers, for the fi rst time, received direct payment in compliance with the rules of the Common Agricultural Policy. Also thanks to this fact, we expect profi ts in agriculture in the year 2004 at a level of approximately SKK 2.9 billion. On the basis of results of research works on the impacts of membership in the EU on agriculture, there is assumed a gradual price adaptation to the EU market with growth or decrease trends depending on commodities, as well as an increase in the total income of farmers, including supports. Increases in the effi ciency and competitiveness of agriculture will also contribute to the economic growth of other sectors of the economy of Slovakia.
POSITION OF AGRICULTURE IN THE NATIONAL ECONOMY OF THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC
The share of agriculture in the created gross domestic product has oscillated around 4% in recent years, and achieved 4.5% in the year 2003. Employment in the agriculture, which was high at the beginning of nineties (12% of economically active population), later decreased sharply and represented 4.7% of economically active population in the year 2003 (including forestry and hunting). This decrease in employment has led to growth in labour productivity.
Agriculture, together with the food processing industry, participated in the creation of GDP at 6% in years 2002 and 2003, and in the total rate of employment at 8%.
Development of Indicators of Agriculture Position in the Economy of the SR (%)
1 Share of employees in the agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishery on the number of economically active population with use of data of Labour Force Sample Survey of the Statistical Office of the SR.
Use of Land
Of the total area of Slovakia (4 903 423 hectares) agricultural land covers 49.7 % and forest land 40.84 %. Decrements in the agricultural land were not significant in recent years, however it was possible to observe a change of arable land to meadows and pastures.
The highest share of used agricultural land (2 255 000 ha) is represented by arable land (61.7), which is the basis of intensive plant production, mainly in production areas of Slovakia. Mainly cereals (58 %), fodders (19%) and industrial crops (15.8 %) are grown on the arable land.
Area of Used Agricultural Land
|Indicator||Area in ha|
|Utilised agricultural land||2 254 801||2 236 424||2 236 036|
- arable land
- permanent covers
- other areas including domestic gardens
- permanent meadows and pastures
1 409 222
1 377 482
1 379 379
Source: Statistical Office of the SR Elaborated by: Research Institute for Agriculture and Food Economics
Former socialist cooperatives and state-owned companies have been transformed into private business companies and co-partner cooperatives. These legal persons farm on the majority of used agricultural land, while cooperatives farm on 49% of land and business companies (private limited companies and joint stock companies) on 37%. The remaining land is cultivated by independent farmers (12.4 %).
Cooperatives farm on land of an area amounting to 1600 hectares on average, while business companies use 930 hectares on average.
Sctural changes which are being carried out in Slovak agriculture have led to a decrease of the share of cooperatives in the total number of farms, and to an increase in the number of business companies. The number of independent farmers increased in the first years of the transformation, and has stabilised at present. However, concentration of the use of land in these farms is distinct, which reflects in an increase of the average area of cultivated land, which was 42 hectares in 2003, whereas in 2001 it was only 36 hectares.
TRANSFORMATION AND RESTITUTION
The present entrepreneurial structure is the result of the processes of restoration of ownership relations in agriculture which started in the year 1990. They were carried out in the form of restitution of property which was fraudulently appropriated by the previous power, via privatisation of state-owned farms and transformation of cooperatives. The basis of the cooperatives’ transformation was the division of a cooperative’s assets into property interests, which were distributed among the members of the cooperative, as well as owners of land and other property used by the cooperative. Disposing with land by owners has been connected with the restoration of ownership rights to land, and many of them used this advantage for establishing their own farms. 204 thousand hectares of lands have been released to owners in restitutions. Also the property rights of landowner associations have been restored and more than 100 000 hectares of land have been returned to them.
Act No. 503/2003 enabled citizens who did not use their right within deadlines according to the first Act on Restitution No. 299 of the year 1992 to submit to land offices their applications for land release by 31.12. 2004.
PROSPECTS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE SLOVAK AGRARIAN POLICY
The strategic objective of the agricultural and food policy for the years 2004 to 2013 is preserving agriculture in all production conditions within the scope justified by the ability to produce competitive products and by the need to ensure more effective use, protection, regeneration and permanent reproduction of natural sources, as well as by the need to preserve balanced environment, cultural, country and rural settlement.