Thursday, February 27, 2014


The main agricultural areas are situated around the flood plain of the Moselle River, but having suffered a marked decline, agriculture accounts for only a small percentage of the Grand Duchy's economy—just 1 percent in 2000. While the climate is conducive to several crops, poor or marginal soil limits production in many areas. The main agricultural products are barley, oats, potatoes, wheat, fruits, and grapes for wine production. Approximately 42 percent of the land is arable, with 1 percent used for permanent crops. About 10 square kilometers of the nation is irrigated, and about three-quarters of the nation's farms are smaller than 200 acres (50 hectares).
Extensive livestock production accounts for 80 percent of agricultural profits, resulting in many farmers raising crops and livestock. Meat production exceeds 15,000 tons annually. Because the nation produces 40 percent more beef than it consumes, meat is one of the few agricultural products in which Luxembourg is self-sufficient. Although farming cattle has increased in importance and profitability, sheep and pig farming have declined. About 70 percent of farms had pigs in 1970, but by 1993, this number had dropped to 15 percent. The growth of the cattle industry has led to an increase in dairy products and to the production of corn as livestock feed. The dairy industry in Luxembourg is organized differently from other agricultural enterprises, being in the hands of 2 major, and 6 minor, dairies. The dairy industry contributes approximately 55 percent of agricultural profits.
There are also 788 small vineyards along the Moselle River, covering 1 percent of agricultural land (1,200 hectares). These vineyards produce 15 million liters of wine annually. Almost four-fifths of the wine produced is consumed by Belgium and the Netherlands, with most of the remainder exported to France and Germany. Luxembourg imports 3 times as much wine as it exports. Vineyards have been the recipients of significant government aid. There are 6 independent breweries in the country, who use much of the locally grown grain in the production of their beer. There is a small tobacco firm employing 350 people, but their cigarettes are made from imported tobacco.
Forestry plays only a tiny part in the economy and accounts for 0.2 percent of the GDP. The annual production of rough timber is approximately 330,000 cubic meters. Furthermore, while wood exports amount to 980 million francs per year, imports exceed 2.8 billion francs.