Agriculture in Belgium is facing large disparities among sectors
Between inflation and decreases in production, agriculture is facing large disparities among sectors.
The first estimates of farmers’ income for the year 2022 made by Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, have been submitted to the European Commission (Eurostat).
Rising energy costs and inflation directly affect all inputs to the agricultural sector. The main price increase is for gas, which is both a fuel for the sector and a component of fertilisers - the price of which has risen sharply this year. Expenditure on fertilisers is expected to rise by 86.0% in 2022, energy by 67.3% and feed cost is expected to be 22.9% higher than in 2021. Overall, intermediate consumption increases by 23.4% compared to 2021.
This increase in costs is, in percentage terms, higher than the increase in the production value of the agricultural sector, which amounts to 19.5%. The income indicator for agricultural activity is nevertheless expected to rise very slightly (2.3%). This indicator reflects the net income of the sector, taking into account inflation, and establishes the ratio between this deflated income and the volume of labour. This is an overall increase but the profitability differs according to the type of farming practised on each holding. The cost structure varies from one sector to another and the increase in production value is not uniform.