Portugal - Agriculture
In 1998, 28% of the land was considered arable. Of the 2.6 million ha (7 million acres), 74% was cultivated with seasonal crops and 26% was under permanent crops. In 2001, the gross agricultural product accounted for 4% of GDP. Estimates of agriculture production in 1999 included potatoes, 1,150,000 tons; tomatoes, 1,176,000 tons; corn, 1,092,000 tons; wheat, 400,000 tons; olives, 262,000 tons; rice, 159,000 tons; and rye, 52,000 tons. Production of olive oil reached 36,000 tons in 1999. Wine, particularly port and Madeira from the Douro region and the Madeira islands, is an important agricultural export; production totaled 679,000 tons in 1999, down from 1,137,000 tons in 1990. Portugal is the world's seventh-largest producer of wine, although Portugal's wines are mostly unknown internationally apart from port and rosé. Under the influence of EU policies, vineyard areas have been reduced in recent years. In 2001, the value of agricultural products imported by Portugal exceeded that of agricultural exports by $2.56 billion.
According to government estimates, about 900,000 hectares (2,200,000 acres) of agricultural land were occupied between April 1974 and December 1975 in the name of land reform; about 32% of the occupations were ruled illegal. In January 1976, the government pledged to restore the illegally occupied land to its owners, and in 1977, it promulgated the Land Reform Review Law. Restoration of illegally occupied land began in 1978.
Agriculture is the main problem area of the economy; yields per hectare are less than one-third of the European average, with a severe drought in 1991/92 only exacerbating the problem. The situation has actually been deteriorating since the mid-1970s, with many yields falling and arable and permanent crop areas declining. By 1999, crop output was only 87% of what it had been on average during 1989–91. With the reform of the EU's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), a significant reduction in the number of producers through consolidation (especially in the north) will result in the end of traditional, subsistence-like based agriculture.