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Agriculture and food sector in Lithuania 2010


During the period of economic recession agriculture and the food industry have remained as the most stable sectors of the Lithuanian economy. In these sectors nearly 8% of the whole economy’s GDP is created, nearly a tenth of the employed population has working places, the export makes 20% of the total Lithuania’s export.


Aiming to increase the competitiveness of agriculture, to support farmers’ income, to reduce social disjuncture between rural and urban population, to save the environment, economic entities are supported by EU and national funds. In 2010 the share of national funds made up LTL 2,593 million and was by 10% lower than in 2009.


In 2010 the export of agricultural and food products totalled LTL 9,802 million (22.8% more than in 2009 and 10.2% more than in 2008), while the import amounted to LTL 7,935 million (19.3% more and 2.5% less, respectively). Starting 2004 (when Lithuania joined the EU) the balance of foreign trade of agricultural and food products was positive. In 20010, as compared to 2009, it increased by LTL 538 million and reached LTL 1,867 million (in 2008 it was 2.5 times less).


In 2006–2010 the number of agricultural entities by categories was changing unevenly. In 2010, as compared to 2006, the number of registered family farms went up by 15.4% and, as compared to 2009, by 1.6%. With reference to the data of crop declarations, over the abovementioned period the number of agricultural companies and other enterprises increased by 18.6%, while the number of holdings went down by 29.1%.


In 2010 the certified organic area in Lithuania occupied 149.1 thousand hectares, or accounted for 5.6% of the total UAA declared. The average size of certified farm (including fishery enterprises) increased from 50.4 ha (in 2009) to 55.9 ha (in 2010). The total land area by land category was almost stable. The largest share of the total land area made up land used for agricultural purposes (60.6%) and the area of forestry land (30.2%).


The most important changes were going in the structure of rural population employment. Until 2006 the largest share of rural population was involved in agriculture, hunting, forestry and fisheries, but since 2006 this share in services has become higher (except the year 2008 when this share in industry and construction was in the middle).


In these latter years the decreasing number of population involved in the agricultural business caused the importance and necessity to diversify the economic activity. Farming is no longer the dominant economic activity even in rural areas. In 2010, as in 2009, only 30% of the employed rural population were involved in agriculture, hunting, forestry and fisheries.


In 2006–2010 the number of SMEs in rural areas was increasing. In 2010 over 10 thousands SMEs were operating in rural areas, including 78% of micro enterprises. On average there were 9.4 SMEs per 1,000 rural population.


In 2010 the Lithuanian Baltic fishing fleet caught nearly 15.5 thou. t of fish More than a half (71.9%) of the total inland water fish is grown in aquaculture ponds. 1254 t of fish was caught in natural inland water bodies, for the most part in the Curonian Lagoon (73.8%), rivers (13.2%) and Kaunas water reservoir (5.8%).


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