Slovakia - Agriculture

The agricultural sector is the smallest in the Slovak economy, making up approximately 5 percent of the GDP, although some sources argue that this proportion is higher. According to 1994 figures, the agricultural sector employs 8.9 percent of the labor force , or 295,480 people. More than one-third of Slovakia's territory is cultivated, and the primary agricultural products are sugar beets, potatoes, wheat, barley, fruit, forest products, corn, pigs, cattle, poultry, and sheep. Grapes for wine production are grown in some hilly areas, and tobacco is cultivated in valleys. Animal products, including oils, represent over 80 percent of all agricultural receipts.

Under the communist economic system, much of Slovakia's agriculture, particularly on the plains, was collectivized, meaning that small private farms were taken by the government in order to create state-owned cooperatives. Under this setup, individuals who lived in a village would be employed by the nearby collective farm. After the collapse of communism in 1989, these cooperatives were transferred to private owners, often by the direct sale of the farm as a unit, though some lands were also restored to their former owners. The government has embarked upon a long-term agricultural policy in an effort to modernize this sector for the world market.

Food consumption has diversified with the introduction of the free market system , and food items that are not produced domestically, such as tropical fruits, are easily imported. These items were more difficult for individuals to obtain under the communist economic system.

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