Farmworker numbers slump by 25%

The number of people working in agriculture has dropped by a quarter across Europe since 2000.

Between 2000 and 2009, 3.7m people left the farming sector, according to figures released by Eurostat, the EU’s office of statistics.

The results show 11.2m people were employed full-time in the 27 countries in the EU during that period.

About 6m of those were employed in the 12 member states that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007.

During the same period, income generated per worker rose by 5%, the report says,

However the change varied significantly across the EU, with workers in the newly-joined countries seeing incomes rise by 61% and those in the original 12 member states seeing them fall by 10%.

In the UK, the number of people employed in farming over the period fell by 13.2%, while income generated increased by 71%.

Poland had the highest number of agricultural workers, accounting for 20% (2.2m) of its workforce.

It was followed by Romania (19% and 2.1 million), Italy (10% and 1.2 million), Spain and France (both 8% and 0.9 million).

The highest increases in income generated per worker were seen in Latvia (+140%), Estonia (+131%), Poland (+107%), the United Kingdom (+71%) and Lithuania (+70%).

The largest decreases were in Denmark (-46%), Italy and Luxembourg (both -36%), Ireland (-30%) and the Netherlands (-28%).

Between 2008 and 2009, real agricultural incomes per worker fell by 12% in the EU. Real agricultural income per worker fell in 21 Member States, remained nearly unchanged in two and rose in four. The largest decreases were found in Hungary (-32%), Luxembourg (-25%), Ireland (-24%), Germany and Italy (both -21%), and the highest increases in Malta (+8%) and Denmark (+4%).

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