Structural Change in Swedish Agriculture - An analysis of factors affecting structural change in the Swedish primary sector with a particular focus on dairy farming
Sammanfattning: During the latter half of the 20th century there has been a continuous decrease in the number of farms in Sweden and agriculture’s importance in economic terms has fallen considerably. This has had significant effects on economic activity in rural areas, on the environment and on the location and size of the food processing industry. Studying the size and the effects of this structural change in agriculture has therefore become important both from an economic as well as from a social and environmental perspective. This study looks at the patterns of change in agricultural production in Sweden between 1995 and 2005 and analyzes some of the factors that have contributed to structural change both in the agricultural sector as a whole as well as in particular in the dairy sector. The analysis is based on existing literature on structural change combined with available national and international data. The main findings are that structural change has been significant in Sweden during the period between 1995 and 2005. The decrease in farms numbers has been more dramatic in the dairy sector than in the agricultural sector as a whole. The Swedish farm population is ageing rapidly and only a small number of young operators are entering the sector. In order to financially continue farming, the majority of Swedish farms are run on a part-time basis. After EU accession costs of production have risen significantly and in combination with decreasing output prices farmers are becoming more dependent on different forms of government aid. The sector has become more concentrated both in terms of the size of farms as well as regionally. This has meant that in particular certain areas in the north and center of Sweden have lost production to the south of Sweden. The study also shows that the special national aid available to the North of Sweden has not managed to significantly slow down structural change in the region.
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