Agriculture and food market
According to Statistics Estonia, there are 245 400 bovine animals in Estonia, including 102 000 dairy cows, 379 500 pigs, 95 000 sheep and goats and 1 734 200 birds. The biggest number of bovine animals, including dairy cows, can be found in Järva County, West- Viru County and Pärnu County. Sheep are raised the most in Saaremaa.
Important plant production fields are growing cereals, oil cultures, potatoes and vegetables. The growth area of cereals has continued to increase during the last years, reaching up to more than 309 000 hectares. According to the data of 2008, summer cereal is grown on 253 000, winter cereal on 70 000 and rape on 77 000 hectares.
During recent years, the number of agricultural holdings has decreased and their structure changed. Change has also taken place in the structure of gender and age of the heads of the holdings and work load.
During 2003 – 2007, the number of agricultural holdings decreased 36, 7 %; however, the average area of agricultural land of the holding increased 1, 8 times (from 21, 6 hectares to 38, 9 hectares). Over 61 % of the heads of agricultural holdings are men.
According to the Estonian Institute of Economic Research, dairy enterprises stocked within 9 months in 2008, 3, 5% more crude milk than the year before. In dairy enterprises, the production of those products increased, which continued to have export possibilities. Meat production in Estonia has fluctuated around 70 000 tons since 2002. In 2007, 75% of the domestic market need was covered by domestic meat. Meat consumption has increased.
Product and market development are in the centre of activities, more than a quarter of food industry production goes for export. The majority of export of dairy products goes to EU Member States.
last update: 09.09.2010