A little over 171 million hectares of land in the European Union (EU) is used for agricultural production - about 40% of the EU's total land area, a new study by Eurostat has found.
The Farm Structure Survey 2016 also found that of the 10.3 million farms in the EU, two thirds are less than five hectares in size.
In addition, the 3% of EU farms of 100 hectares or more in size worked more half of the EU's utilised agricultural area, the study found.
Romania is the country with the largest number of farms in the EU, accounting for one third of the EU's farms, however these tend to be small in size.
After Romania, some 14% of the region’s farms are found in Poland, followed by Italy (13%) and Spain (9%).
The study also found that farming is facing a growing succession challenge, with just 11% of farm managers under 40 years old.
The average age of farmers is very much at the older end of the age spectrum; one third (32%) of farm managers in the EU were 65 years of age or more.
The farming profession is dominated by men, with only about three in ten (29%) EU farm managers being women.
About one half (54%) of the standard output generated by agriculture in the EU was from farms in France (17%), Germany (13%), Italy (12%) and Spain (11%) in 2016.
Although Romania accounts for about one third of the EU's farms, they accounted for only 3.4 % of the EU's standard output.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.