Agricultural ministry: Farming output down 2 percent on year to 2020

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Tractor at work in an Estonian field. Source: ERR

Agricultural output in Estonia fell by 2 percent on year to 2020, to €974.3 million, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse (Reform) says. At the same time, good weather in fact led to bumper cereal crops, though fruit and vegetable output fell.

"As was the case with other sectors, agriculture did not remain unaffected by the COVID-19 virus either, and 2020 proved a challenge to our food producers; however, farmers and other participants in the food supply chain managed to adapt and successfully cope with the changing conditions," Kruuse said Thursday.

Nonetheless, the food industry outperformed manufacturing, while growth in exports of agricultural products and food continued in 2020.

An overview of agriculture, fisheries and the food industry in 2020 compiled by the Ministry of Rural Affairs shows that the weather last year favored crop production and generated record high cereals yields, while the production of milk and meat has likewise grown over several consecutive years.

Breakdown of 2020 agricultural produce

  • Crops made up 48 percent of output.
  • Livestock made up 42 percent of output.
  • Inseparable secondary activities and agricultural services made up 10 percent.
  • Food industry revenues totaled €2.1 billion and remained at more or less at the same level as in 2019 and accounting for 16.4 percent of total revenue in manufacturing.
  • €1.4 billion-worth of agricultural products and food were exported from Estonia at current prices, while imports stood at €1.6 billion.
  • Cereal yields totaled 1.6 million tons last year, surpassing the record high level reached last year.
  • Total area for cereal cultivation stood at 370,120 hectares in 2020.
  • Total milk production stood at at 847,800 tons, growing 3.2 percent in year-on-year comparison.
  • 79,887 tons of meat was produced, a 5 percent rise on 2019. Half of this came in poultry and most of the remainder in pork.
  • Fruit and vegetable producers were negatively affected by a delayed spring and extreme weather conditions.
  • Fishery hauls were 13 percent smaller last year compared with 2019, partially attributable to a lower sprat quota imposed on Estonia in 2020, as well to unfavorable weather conditions in the first half of the year.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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