Emerging Markets / April 11, 2017

Denmark: Arable Land and Cereals in Northern Europe

The Kingdom of Denmark is a small northern European country bordering the North and Baltic Seas. A part of Scandinavia, Denmark is a highly developed nation and a member of the European Union. Excluding the Danish territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Denmark has a total territory of more than 43.000 square kilometers, which is almost twice the size of Massachusetts. Geographically, Denmark is a peninsular nation, has a long coastline and numerous islands, yet it is a predominantly flat country. Denmark has a total population of approximately 5.6 million citizens, more than 85% of which live in a major city or urban setting. Currently, Denmark’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) is of almost US$300 billion. Similarly, its national economy has experienced positive economic growth in recent years. Denmark’s national economy is divided into 2% agriculture, 23% manufacturing, and 75% services. However, the agriculture industry utilizes about 63% of the national territory, while another 13% is forested. Likewise, Denmark’s agricultural industry employs some 3% of the national labor force, while manufacturing employs about 20% and services employ another 77%.

In terms of natural resources, Denmark has petroleum, natural gas, arable land, salt, limestone, chalk, stone, gravel, and sand. Within manufacturing, the national industry is focused on metals, chemicals, food processing, machinery & transportation equipment, textiles & clothing, electronics, construction, furniture & wood products, shipbuilding, and, pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, the country’s agricultural industry has as main products barley, wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, pork, dairy products, and fish. In terms of trade, Denmark’s main partners are fellow EU members, particularly Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, as well as Norway, China, and the United Kingdom. A member of the EU since 1973, Denmark benefits from subsidies and industry protections under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). However, Denmark utilizes its own national currency and not the Euro as its official currency. This article explores the status of land use and cereal markets in Denmark.

Denmark: Arable Land and Cereals in Northern Europe

Throughout recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin amongst the Danish population has been of approximately 67 grams daily. Meanwhile, cereals, roots, and tubers supply about 29% of the average food energy intake in Denmark. Simultaneously, land use in Denmark has evolved throughout the last half century. In 1961, permanent pastures and meadows in Denmark covered 343.000 hectares, while arable land covered another 2.8 million hectares and permanent crops accounted for 10.000 hectares. In 2014, permanent pastures and meadows in Denmark accounted for 193.000 hectares, while arable land represented little over 2.4 million hectares and permanent crops covered another 4.000 hectares.

Similarly, the domestic cereals market in Denmark has transformed substantially throughout the last several decades. In 1961, Denmark devoted over 1.5 million hectares of land to the production of cereals and produced almost 5.2 million metric tons annually. Meanwhile, in 2014, Denmark devoted less than 1.5 million hectares of land to cereals production and yielded close to 9.8 million metric tons.

(Read more about International Food and Agriculture Day)

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