Wages drop higher than EU average

IRELAND’S 8.7% fall in 2008 was well ahead of the average EU member state’s 3.5% fall in farm wages, according to official Eurostat data released last week.

The credit crunch, falling farm produce prices, and a steep rise in production costs, knocked earnings in 19 member states, but the income per farm worker rose in eight EU nations.

Hardest hit was Denmark, where the agricultural pay packets were down by 24.7%, followed by Estonia (23%), Belgium (22.6%), Latvia (19.4%) and Poland (17.7%).

Agricultural income per worker rose 16.5% in Britain and 18.6% in Hungary, but the best 2008 performers were predictably in the two newest EU members — Romania (up 28.4%) and Bulgaria (28.9%), according to the Eurostat figures.

The new figures bring to an end several years of rising wages for EU agriculturalists, up 15.2% from 2000 to 2008. Across Europe, a 42.8% price rise for fertiliser made farming 10.3% more costly. Agricultural output value picked up 3.9%, but the level of public subsidies to farmers remained unchanged.


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