SLOVENIA – an example of agriculture adapted to new consumption habits

I recently contacted the agriculture of a country 10 times smaller than Romania, considered disadvantaged compared to other countries with agricultural potential, such as Romania, but the European Commission gives example for a sustainable future in 2020.

What they did or how they adapted to new market conditions?

I’ll start with the problems facing them, although I must stress that I visited six farms and none of the visits did not hear a single word about how they are hard, on the contrary, I saw people happy, excited their achievements and with many plans for future development.

Slovenia, as a country in terms of agriculture looks like this:

It has 80% of the area covered by hills and mountains and 20% of flat surface in the form of closed valleys and basins. Infer primarily logistical difficulties, and resources such as water, S.A.
The average size per farm is owned by HA 6.5 and about 5 units in live animals, here therefore unable to make big agriculture
Have low power outlets on international markets: only 40% of Slovenian farms aim to export goods.
All the figures show that in terms of income and / farm, Slovenia is half the European average, and in terms of demographic and throughout Europe as they face an aging population in the agricultural sector, only 4.3% from landowners or farms are younger than 35 years.

What is different from the rest of European farming is management system – in Slovenia main operating model with tradition for centuries, is the model of the family farm. An average farm would say that is a family of six people and two or three generations, all active in the farm.

This model was shown to be sufficiently stable and functional because the country’s history has managed to constantly adapt to unfavorable imposed by climate, especially volatlităţii prices and new consumption habits.

Slovenes have adapted quickly we found the recent changes and new directions-market products, so as to become economically viable. I visited all six family farms had found place in the market. They addressed the internal market or in their international openness, everyone was cheerful, the economic support of their business and had plans / investment for future expansion plans involving European money. They worked long, long and appealed for outside help only when they were in high season. As an order of magnitude, one farm had 40 ha where a party is the vine, 140 pigs, a slaughterhouse, 20 cows, a 6 room hotel and restaurant. 6 family members claimed all farm and occasionally summer, when they were 100% higher degree of occupation resorted to seasonal.

Do not think that this is an exception, figures show that 89%  work in agriculture last year was made by the family.

But farmers are more educated than their European average. In Slovenia the average of 9% compared with 7% of farm owners have specialized higher.

Maybe that made them see the opportunities offered by European climate, because if up to 2012 farmers Slovenians had the lowest incomes, far below the average wage of other national industries, starting with this year, things have changed substantially .

Since 2012 farmers’ incomes have experienced tremendous growth, reaching the bottom of the ranking first in the top, on par with wages in the industrial sector, which is the highest wages in Slovenia. (Compared to wages in construction and services).

The timing coincides with the number of farms under organic farming in the past, all 2012 being the year when there were more than 2,500 such farms compared to only 41 in 2000.

The family farm in the current economic climate, especially during the economic crisis has proved the most stable, even compared with other industry sectors.

Therefore today this model is heavily debated and analyzed, even presented as a model for the future of agriculture for 2020, because despite the structural conditions and natural events which have prevented agriculture Slovenian reach the competitiveness of countries with conditions significantly better focus placed on adding value to products and achieving greater differentiation in product offering brought consumer recognition and hence increased sales.

DG Agri Thank you for your invitation to Study Trip in Slovenia

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