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Agriculture and Horticulture Luxemburg

Agriculture and horticulture in numbers


Agriculture accounts for only a small part of gross domestic production (GDP) in Europe, and it is considered that the overall vulnerability of the European economy to changes that affect agriculture is low (1). However, agriculture is much more important in terms of area occupied (farmland and forest land cover approximately 90 % of the EU's land surface), and rural population and income (2).


In 2008,2,268 farms were counted covering  a bit more than 50% of the territory of Luxembourg. This area was divided almost equally between arable land and permanent pasture and meadows. About half of the arable land was covered by cereals in 2008 (mostly wheat and barley and, to a lesser extent, triticale). Permanent pasture and meadows were mainly grazing land and permanent crops related to vineyards for their most part (9).

Vulnerabilities Europe - Climate change not main driver

Socio-economic factors and technological developments

Climate change is only one driver among many that will shape agriculture and rural areas in future decades. Socio-economic factors and technological developments will need to be considered alongside agro-climatic changes to determine future trends in the sector (2).

From research it was concluded that socio-economic assumptions have a much greater effect on the scenario results of future changes in agricultural production and land use then the climate scenarios (3).

The European population is expected to decline by about 8% over the period from 2000 to 2030 (4).

Scenarios on future changes in agriculture largely depend on assumptions about technological development for future agricultural land use in Europe (3). It has been estimated that changes in the productivity of food crops in Europe over the period 1961–1990 were strongest related to technology development and that effects of climate change were relatively small. For the period till 2080 an increase in crop productivity for Europe has been estimated between 25% and 163%, of which between 20% and 143% is due to technological development and 5-20% is due to climate change and CO2 fertilisation. The contribution of climate change just by itself is approximately a minor 1% (5).

Care should be taken, however, in drawing firm conclusions from the apparent lack of sensitivity of agricultural land use to climate change. At the regional scale there are winners and losers (in terms of yield changes), but these tend to cancel each other out when aggregated to the whole of Europe (3).

Future changes in land use

If technology continues to progress at current rates then the area of agricultural land would need to decline substantially. Such declines will not occur if there is a correspondingly large increase in the demand for agricultural goods, or if political decisions are taken either to reduce crop productivity through policies that encourage extensification or to accept widespread overproduction (3).

Cropland and grassland areas (for the production of food and fibre) may decline by as much as 50% of current areas for some scenarios. Such declines in production areas would result in large parts of Europe becoming surplus to the requirement of food and fibre production (3). Over the shorter term (up to 2030) changes in agricultural land area may be small (6).

Although it is difficult to anticipate how this land would be used in the future, it seems that continued urban expansion, recreational areas (such as for horse riding) and forest land use would all be likely to take up at least some of the surplus. Furthermore, whilst the substitution of food production by energy production was considered in these scenarios, surplus land would provide further opportunities for the cultivation of bioenergy crops (3).

Europe is a major producer of biodiesel, accounting for 90% of the total production worldwide (7). In the Biofuels Progress Report (8), it is estimated that in 2020, the total area of arable land required for biofuel production will be between 7.6 million and 18.3 million hectares, equivalent to approximately 8% and 19% respectively of total arable land in 2005.

The agricultural area of Europe has already diminished by about 13% in the 40 years since 1960 (3).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Luxemburg.

  1. EEA (2006), in: EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
  2. EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
  3. Rounsevell et al. (2005)
  4. UN (2004), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
  5. Ewert et al. (2005), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
  6. Van Meijl et al. (2006), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
  7. JNCC (2007), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  8. European Commission (2006), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  9. Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures of Luxembourg – Department of the Environment (2010)