Food and Agri Business


Peter Mathias,1983

Land ownership in the 18th c UK affected three main groups 

1/ Landowners-land as units of ownership-ran farms to supply their housholds with produce, not commercial

2/ Those with rights over the cultivation off land- a mixed group,small freeholders,owner cultivators, the rent paying, the farmer who paid rents and employed labour, small holders and squatters-concerned with production

3/ farm laborers without ownership or rights over land working for wages 

opportunities for social mobility at the time 

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Mathius, 1983

18th Century Britiain 

Much countryside belong to estates and landed gentry,due to social mobility merchants could buy land and they invested in it 

18th century half the land of England was under strict settlement the eldest son was not allowed to sell any portion of it 

Advantages of leasehold 

could make decisions about large areas of land 

could change cultivator easily 

allowed consolidation of farms to happen more easily 

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Mathias 1983

Improve agricultural land=pressure on the peasantry

smaller farms seen as less economic as far as the production of crops was concerned smaller farmers started to decline 

common lands lost to marginal people through enclosure, people given plots but these to small to be economic and too expensive to run

half the land in England had been enclosed befor 1750

cottage industries took over smallholdings 

In Lincolnshire the rural population increased by 60% between 1563 and 1801 

Numbers employed in agriculture went on rising during the first half of the nineteenth century

enclosure bought new land as crops for the first time 

agricultural innovations increased the value per output 

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Mathius, 1983

Thresing machines teduced the need for winter employment 

other industries started expaning more quickly after 1750

Extra population started to work in industry-local migration

Rise in population in the 1740's 

increased demand for Industrialk output in England 1720-50-advances in agricultural productivity and consequent fall in food prices 

output increased 

expansion of national wealth 

Agriculture provided raw materials for industry, the labour force sometimes a joint labour force with the agricultural labour force

Capital and credit between industry and the land were linked, agriculture was the largest sector of the economy - 1/3 of the population employed in agriculture 

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Mathius, 1983

Capital came from rents- allowed for investment paricuarly in transport 

need rising population to creata and industrailised labour force so there is still labour in agricultural areas to feed the workers 

unless food production rises in step with those consuming then food prices rise 

developing countries in 1983-more strain on the debt side of the balance, difficult to buy exports so concentrate on primary goods 

18th century england textiles started having an export demand after 1780

18th Century no crisis of food prices occured

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Mathius 1983

British Agriculture Improved because of:

New land being bought nto cultivation

Previously cultivated land farmed more intensively 

new labour 

improvements in technique 

much land still unculitvated 

Enclosure wasquantitively the most important single movement affecting land use because it made all other innovations possible"

Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire fens drained in the 1630's, drainers bought new crops with them from Holland,Oats, flax and hemp

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Mathius, 1983


New Crops, turnops, swedes and magrels 

Drainage skills, artificial grasses, clover,lucrenes ans sainfoin to fix nitrogen in the soil,learned more about fertilisation from dung 

Turnips-increased sheep-increased Barley-contributied to the growing breweries in London 

Jethro Tull (1674-1741)- advocated light iron instruments, harrows rakes etc, drilled in seed by implement rather than scattering 

Used Horses instead of Oxen in the fields-Nolfolk Plough

improved rotations, crops, seed-yields and strains in plants 

improved Breeds of Sheep Robert Bakewell 1725-95- who created three breeds of sheep

agrarian revolution was slow-17th and 18th centuries and eastern and centralk revolution

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British agric revolution

17th Century UK Low countiries and Dutch all low countries 

SET, Science Entrepeneurship and Technology

Old way of Crop Rotation

1 field wheat 

2nd field Oats 

3rd Field Fallow 

1/3 fields is unused

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New System of Crop Rotation

New system of Crop Rotation- 4 Field 

Wheat, Oats, Clover, Turnips 

Clover and Turnips replenish the soil all the fields being used, can feed more people 

Selective Breeding 

Started Breeding animals with similar chracteristics-Belgian Blue Cow 

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Agricultural Innovation the Farmer as the Entrepre

Traditional Agriculture

The Common Pasture- Land that doesn't belong to anyone 


  • Ownership, fancing off fields, Hurt poor farmers lost traditional grazing rights 
  • but more food, more effiecient more market orientated 
  • Those negatively affected-Workhouses the Poor Law 
  • Could argue that economic progress hurts groups of people in the short term but in the long run, it produces a greater amount of material prosperity for future generations 
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Farmers as inventors 

Seed getting wasted 

Jethrop Tull's Seed Drill, puts seed where it's supposed to go all the Seeds are supposed to go 


Jefferson-Moldboard Plow

Washington-16 side barn 

Threshing Wheat

Before the Revolution

Threshed wheat manually- portable threshing machine 

Crop yields 1600 10 bushels per acre  18th century agricultural production has doubled 

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Population Explosion

Population Explosion in Europe in 18th Century 

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Devine (2000) The Scottish Nation


18th Century writers in favour of the new developments 

Propoganda- trying to demonstrate the weaknesses of the old system, justifying the removal of traditional society

radical transformation of the lowlands in the 18th Century-prospective of the market orientated society 

recently scholars have been lookingat wider sources of information 

1750-vast majority of Scottish people lived of the land 

2/3 wages spent on food,alot of raw materials produced for contemporary society

mostly a tenant landlord relationship

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Devine (2000) The Scottish Nation

The tenant landlord relationship 

1/ by 1700 was an economic relationship, tenants heir preferred as successor, propoetiers may allow default on rent but not the  cultural expectations of the highlands, ehre chiefs were protectors of the people 

2/ early eighteenth century-tenants land was defined by a lease, about 9  years, tenancies could be made into a larger unit by refusing tenancies. Little peasant propietership

3/ tenants could either be fined or disciplined for ignoring landowners 

additional rental services paid in labour, ******* to work at harvest time, had to have corn ground at the landlords mill

below  tenant of the land clusters of people 

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Devine (2000) The Scottish Nation

New tanancies developed later in the 18th century larger areas 

larger area used for grazing,abandoned villages in Eskdale, depopulation, tenants for stock rearing 

The Levellers Revolt in 1724-conflict between traditional values and market pressures 

Cottars held a few acres from tenants in exhange for labour, which was used at busy times of year

people very dependent on the land- people often paid with land contrast with endland three-part social structure where, in most regions te classical three-part social structure of landowners, farmers and landlass servants was already in place by 1700 

Infield-Outfield System in Scotland- The Infield most intensive care outfield poorer quality-oats could be grown on them, allowed to revert to pasture after a few years, also multipurpose areas, rig and furrow 

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Devine (2000) The Scottish Nation

Improvers condemned all these practices as ineeficient, wasteful and incapable of reform 

True that crop yields were comparivaly low 

Doubtful that traditional methods could have satisfied the huge increase in demand 

Pre industrail age the old system met the needs of Scottish Society 

fed the population

surpless for export 

only two harvest failures and shortages between 1600 and 1700

18th century=stubbon stagnation in grain prices  and a challenge of selling in depressed markets 

Rig and furrow provided some drainage 

small pathches of land important to families 

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Devine (2000) The Scottish Nation

Touns made sense because it made sense to share labour when there was little technology 

A community approach was helpful in outfields- worked with planning and controls, controlled number of animals each person had

was Flexible, in fields adoped the four crop rotation, use of liming adopted 

changes in the lowlands by 1750

increasing dominance of the single tenant 

greater impact of the market-sheep and cattle 

Rnage of cropping refinements 

These were alternations within the old system 

Scottish Countryside in the 1740' with open fields, long rigs and huddled townships had not change much since medieval times yet within a few decades it would be changed forever 

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Devine (2000) The Scottish Nation

1760-1830-big change in Scottish Countryside 

1830-fields, hedges , new systems of crop rotation, higher yeild *2 or  *3 times greater than in the past 

1750's market forces started to grow- towns and cities started to grow, building of roads 

muliple tenancies eliminated

cottar system attacked,land was now owned by a tiny percentage of the population 

1830's Scottish Farming-model of effieciency 

Commoties 'common Land' was divided amoungst landlords, leases becoming more rigorous landlords had more rights 

Enclosure-dissollution of the infield outfield system 1790's most enclosed 

increased productivity meant more people moved into jobs where they bought rather than produced their own food /rising yeilds meant that food prices did not rise to high 

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Devine 2000

more intensive application of traditional agriculture-fallowing and the application of lime,rapid diffision of sown grasses and turnips, sown grasses allowed more animals to be kept 

Sown grasseses were especially useful for Scotland- growing system in Animal husbandary 

Two horse plough introduced-lighterand easier to use 

geographical areas became more significant for specific types of agriculture- Aryshire, Renfrewshire, and western Lanarkshire  became more significant for Dairy 

1770's equilibrium crumbled rapidly with the growth of national population in the towns and cities between 1755-1820, growth by two thirds more people buying food 

Rural Transport Revolution- Turnpike Trusts-savings on human and animal labour, construction of the Forth and Clyde Canal-supplied Glasgow 

growth of small towns and villages around industires 

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Devine 2000

Scottish Landlords protected by entail protected land from forced sale 

Acts passed allowing landlords to divide the land as they liked 

costs of land ownership rising steeply by the end off the eighteenth century-more rchitectaral display of wealth classical style houses and policies built- made rent higher 

intellectualis- land managers had often been to uni and had been exposed to enlightenment ideas 

imperalism- growing rich from the colonies 

cottars continued to be removed- seen as some as an influence of wider social developments - meant that people became more dependent on large tenancies, higher levels of labour efficiency demanded anfd higher rents, new ploughing system required ploughmen as pemanent servants, part time services 

higher wages were needed by new employers to attract workers may have diffused cottar unrest 

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Smedthurst, 1986

Agricultural Development and Tenancy Disputes in Japan 1870-1940

  • 1878-1880- productivity per worker *3 an average rate of 2% a year
  • Japan's farmproduction was as greater or greater than that in western countries in comparable stages of  industrail devlopment 
  • some calculations that rice fields expanded by at least one-quater of a percent between 1645-1873 
  • Cash crops provided secondary job opportunities 
  • 1870-1940 should not be viewed as a new trend but as the broadening and deepening with systematic government encouragement 
  • Tokugawa farming to modern agriculture-not only one of expanding production 
  • in the modern era many of its farmers already cultivated crops, paid taxes, set rents at fixed amounts 
  • Cultivators could sell the entire surpless had an interest in technological innovation and had recieved a good education 
  • a recorded ambition for social mobility
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Smedthurst, 1986

1868-Change from several feudal domains to a single government 

The Meiji reforms and agricultural devlopment 

  • abolished seigneurial ruole and the warrior class's legal prominance 
  • Military conscription, compulsary education, systematic local and national governance, a legal framework for modern forms of economic organisation , banking and financial institutions, a tax system-technical and entrepreneurial activities encouraged and economic growth stimulated 
  • 1870's on farmers had the same rights as samuri, farmers could own and alienate land 
  • Tokugawa era-sub ruling class land ownership evolved -Meiji era changed this
  • New government recognised new peasants owners as the rightful owner, giving them the authority to sell and buy land 
  • owner now had greater stake in expanding yields and income
  • Tax Meiji regieme-standardized tax in agriculural land at 4% when previously it had been at arbitary rates 
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Smedthurst, 1986

  • historical literature on modern Japan  is that Meiji leaders industrtailized and modernized their nations at the expense of the peasantry
  • The new land tax seen as a harsh burden for the Japanese to bear- and proseprity scarificed to pay for the costs of modern weapons 
  • evidence is that tax burrden was not as high as it was in the pre 1868 era, even in the mid 1870's had lowered agricultural taxes by 5-6%  at the very least, 1937 taxes were 7.1%
  • Within a few years of the establishment of the tax system farmers paid less not more, of their share in taxes 
  • Tax in money no longer in produce - intrusion of commerce into the countryside 
  • also helped by the establishment of interegional crop prices 
  • Set up organisations to help farmers improve their tillage practices 
  • Research stations into seed strains 
  • Entreupenuers sold large amounts of traditional agriculture 
  • Before the end of the Meiji era virtually all rice growers used new seed varieties 
  • improved tools-plows and rotary weeder 
  • developed fertilisers 
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Smedthurst, 1986

  • Most Dramatic change was the increased use of fertilizer 
  • between 1890's and 1930's rice production grew by 67%, seed productivity by 7% and fertilizer use by 100%
  • prices of fertilizer were falling steadily 
  • output grew apples grew by 1,659 percent 
  • ferilizer=less labour= agricultural workers decreased by 12.2% 
  • diversification in the 1920's 
  • Japan small capital inputs on all farms lead to increased productivity 
  • better methods of planting, new seeds, better ferilizer, insecticided, weed killers, gasoline-powered threshers and electric  pumps 
  • 48% increase in tenancy 
  • sharp increase in area of land under cultivation-reclamation, bankruptcy, transformations from servants to owner farmers 
  • before World War II modern Japan - the improvement per capita in caloric consumption 600 extra calories consumed between 1892-1920
  • Army recruirs 2.3 percent taller in the 1930's than in the 1880's 
  • average height and weight increased 
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Smedthurst, 1986

  • improvements in industry meant that some members of the family could go and work in industry, agricultural families improved their non agricultural income 
  • girls got textile work 
  • increased transport, education and healthcare 
  • evidence of extra spending and income in 1925, cinema, packages, use of transport
  • Meiji period increased scholl attandence increased 49% in 1890, 61% in 1895 1903, 93.2%
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Mededev, 1987

Soviet Agriculture 

  • Revolution October 2017
  • All land became the property of the state 
  • detoriation between peasants and the Bolshiviks on collectivisatation 
  • food confiscated to feed people in the cities 
  • People's Commissarit for Food Supplies was set up and given dicatorial powers 
  • banks nationalized, new banknotes, paper currency discredited 
  • famine in 1918 transport problems 
  • violent clashes between food requistioning army and peasants for food 
  • Civil war 1918-1921
  • terror against kulaks
  • Party Unity declared in 1921
  • New Economic Policy Began- taxes, free trade in consumer goods legalized 
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mevedev 1987

  • 1921 recieved food aid from the west
  • population decline started in 1917
  • Lenin died in 1924
  • Primative methods still used in rural areas 
  • 1922- encouraged consolidation of stips of lkand and separation from communes 
  • consolidation-people encouraged to aplly for this in the 1920's
  • kulaks-wanted to stay in a commune system 
  • 1927-collectivisation of agriculture plans started 
  • 1920's till the problem of food shortages in towns 
  • first 5 year Plan orientated towards heavy industry-rural villages started to experince shortages of essentials 
  • Industry could not provide peasants with the means of small scale mechanisation 
  • Stalin's new methods caused The Grain Crisis 
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mevedev 1987

The Grain Crisis

  • increased the procurement pirces of technical crops and other raw materials required for light industry  1927 Peasants had more cash 
  • 1926-97 Harvest was 20% higher than the previous year
  • stalin made hoarding Grain a criminal offense- army used to seize grain
  • 1928 cancelled this and tried economic measures- increased supply of consumer goods and raised prices for grain but it didn't work
  • The Procurement pattern in the 1920's
  • Tax was not paid in full
  • Transport and storage poor 
  • Blackmarket buying grain at a higher price 
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Chirwa et al 2006

Future Scenarios for Agriculture in Malawi 

  • Malawi one of the poorest countries in the world GDP $190
  • Agriculture 39% of GDP
  • Food insecurity exacerbated by widely changeable food prices 
  • 2004-45% of rural households indicated that their economic well-being had deteriorated over the year
  • Main products include maize, tobacco, casava, groundnuts etc
  • Traditional exports are Tea, sugar, tobacco and coffee
  • Moved to private sector for marketing food efficiency has been questionned 
  • Few mineral resources 
  • land and labour are the critical assets 
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Evolution of Agricultural Sector in the UK

House of Commons, January 2016 

  • First proper agricultultural census of Great Britain taken in 1865 
  • Indication of some areas agriculture has changed in response to events over the last 100 years, two world wars, depression of the 1930s,post-war boom and entry into the European Community 
  • 1990's fall in prices and farm incomes 
  • BSE and the outbreak of foot and mouth disease 
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Evolution of Agriculture in the UK

  • House of Commons January 2016
  • Arable land falling before the second world war and then during the second world war increased by 50% during the second world war 
  • Since then arable land has been more variable 
  • collapse of cereal prices in the late 19th century caused area under wheat and barley to decline
  • Gradual increase after the 1960's- wheat became more productive and was produced a bit more 
  • the decline in the number of orchards- seens as an indication of the industrailisatiopn of agriculture 
  • orchards increased between 1875-1950
  • orchards started declining during the second world war
  • since 1951 very rapid decline in orchards 
  • Livestock 
  • decline in livestock 1875 to 1974 
  • Since 1974 amount of cattle has fallen by 32%
  • Recent falls associated with foot and mouth disease and BSE
  • Much of the the underlying decline since the 1980's has been in the dairy herd =milk restictions 
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Evolution of UK Agriculture


  • before 1970's falls during and after both wars 
  • 1980 CAP for sheep meat was introduced and profitabililty improved 
  • numbers increased by 50% to the highest level in 1992 
  • sheep numbers fell 13% in 2001, still have not recovered 
  • Pigs volatility in numbers- reflects the ability to respond to prices more quickly and the dominance of meat value extracted from pigs 
  • numbers of pigs reduced during the second world war- reductions in pigs food supplies 
  • numbers started to increase by the end of the 1940's 
  • 1990's- falling pricee, with outbreaks of swine fever and foot and mouth, decline approaching 40% between 1998 and 2003 
  • Fallen further apart from and increase in 2013
  • pig farmin underwent major specialization and intensification from the 1970's onwards 
  • poltry, wartime falls, rapid postwar expansion
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Evolution of UK Agriculture

Uk House of Commons 2016 

  • Hired Agricultural workers declined between 1925-2005, interrupted only by the second world war- womens land armyand POW's 
  • fastest period of decline between the end of the 1940's and 1960's- has slowly declined since then 
  • number of farmers has fallen 


  • Measures how well the industry the measures the resources 
  • Ratio of the volume of outputs and the volume of inputs 
  • Productivity plays a vital part in agriculture's competitiveness and has cleatr impacts on farm incomes 
  • General increase 1950's-1980's- due a broadly similar level of inputs 
  • between 1996 and 2006 productivity increased driven by a fall in inputs, so therfore true procutivity is not relative to other countries.
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Effects of higher productivity

  • Improved competitiveness and trade performance: Productivity growth and lower unit costs are key determinants of the competitiveness of firms in global markets.
  • Higher profits: Efficiency gains are a source of larger profits for companies which might be re-invested to support the long term growth of the business.
  • Higher wages: Businesses can afford higher wages when their workers are more efficient
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  • Economic growth: If an economy can raise the rate of growth of productivity then the trend growth of national output can pick up.
  • Productivity improvements mean that labour can be released from one industry and be made available for another – for example, rising efficiency in farming will increase production yields and provide more food either to export or to supply a growing urban population.
  • If the size of the economy is bigger, higher wages will boost consumption, generate more tax revenue to pay for public goods and perhaps give freedom for tax cuts on people and businesses.
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Productivity in Agriculture

Up until the mid 1990's little change in inputs and hence little change in prodctivity 

  • Between 1996 and 2006 productivity increased by 19% and this was driven by a fall of just over 18% in inputs 
  • Labour hs fallen since the mid 1990's, reductions in fertilisers and energy

Farm Incomes 

  • Farming Income increased rapidly to 1943 
  • Remained pretty much stable up until the early 1970's 
  • Rose sharpley in 1973 as a result of the UK entry into the European Community 
  • much of the variation is due to prices and exchange rates 
  • The Pound streghtened in the 1980's  together with low commodity prices and BSE caused an even more rapid decline in aggragate income 
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Productivity in Agriculture

Up until the mid 1990's little change in inputs and hence little change in prodctivity 

  • Between 1996 and 2006 productivity increased by 19% and this was driven by a fall of just over 18% in inputs 
  • Labour hs fallen since the mid 1990's, reductions in fertilisers and energy

Farm Incomes 

  • Farming Income increased rapidly to 1943 
  • Remained pretty much stable up until the early 1970's 
  • Rose sharpley in 1973 as a result of the UK entry into the European Community 
  • much of the variation is due to prices and exchange rates 
  • The Pound streghtened in the 1980's  together with low commodity prices and BSE caused an even more rapid decline in aggragate income 
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Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs

  • UK is 76% self-suffieicient 
  • food and drink £26.9 billion to the economy in 2014
  • Exports 18billion worth of food and drink in 2015 
  • top products are whisky,salmon cheese wine and lamb 
  • 73 protected food and drink labels 
  • Minteles latest 2016 survey 56% of shoppers say they buy British food whenever they can 
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Agriculture in the UK

Bailey, Davidova, Hotopp, National Institute of Economic and Social Research 

Agriculture in the UK 

Agriculture makes up 0.7% of GDP and employs 1.2% of the UK labour force.
It is the main supplier to the food and drinks industry which makes up 20% of the UK
manufacturing sector.
20% of agricultural labour force are immigrants, many who are seasonal workers.
Only 3% of farmers are under the age of 35 and 30% are 65 or older.
Many farmers depend on subsidies to ensure they can continue farming. For some up to
50% of all the money they receive is in subsidies, with small farmers particularly vulnerable.
Farmers manage 70% of the UK land area and help to maintain landscapes of cultural
They also contribute 10% to UK Green House gas emissions and some farming practices
have significant negative impact on aquatic and other important ecosystems.
Agriculture has impacts beyond the farm gate and effect non-farm rural employment  

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Bailey, Davidova, Hotopp

  • Looking narrowly Agriculture is a small sector 
  • Long term trend is towwards decline 
  • BUT 
  • 70% of UK land area is managed by farmers 
  • Services-climate change, food security, drinking water, flood production 
  • EU Measures the busisness size for all member states 
  • In Ireland, Wales and Scotland-70% of the land is designated as less favoured areas (LFA)
  • Different reliance on subsidies,lowest in England at 52% and highest in Wales at 142%
  • Farm incomes fell 29% between 2014 and 2015 
  • Prices od agricultural products hit the headlines frequently 
  • 2015 crop prices fell by 6%, livestock by 10% and milk by 22%, reduction in the pound in the years up to 2015=reduction in revenues for farmers selling internationally traded products 
  • overall the workforce is small less than 2% od the UK labour force, aging population of farmers, number of EU nationals working in UK agriculture has increased 
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Bailey, Davidova, Hotopp

International Trade 

  • Uk produces about 60% of the calories it consumes 
  • International trade is important and price spikes can effect UK consumers 
  • Deficit in agricultural and trade products has been widening for the past ten years 
  • Most trade is with other members of the EU


  • Agriculture = 10% Green House Gases in the UK 
  • 60% of nitrates and 50% of phosoprus comes from Agricultural pollution

Policy Support 

CAP represents 73% of total farms incomes in the UK-environmental goods and ecosystem services 

Estimates that fewer than 50% of farms cover their inputs from the market alone 

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Rizov, Davidova, Bailey,

 hey analyse the relationship between regional CAP receipts and employment in non-farm

small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by considering both the direct and indirect effects of
farmers’ purchasing power. The results show that removing the CAP, and not replacing it with a
national policy, would result in 1.6 per cent fall in employment in non-farm SMEs in the UK. To put
this into context, this would represent a loss of about 250,000 jobs and a decrease in annual
employment growth of about 0.2 percentage point. Since the largest number of jobs lost (200,000)
are concentrated in rural areas, the negative impact on the rural job market might be very

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