Agriculture makes a major economic contribution to the UK economy. It acts as a key supplier for the agro-allied and food industries. As an economic sector, agriculture is an economic powerhouse that is greatly mechanised, and its importance to the UK’s trade success can’t be overemphasised.
Agricultural practices in the UK can be broadly separated into three key areas that include arable farming of crops like wheat and barley, livestock farming like raising animals of cows and sheep, and mixed farming of both arable and pastoral practices.
Arable farming is more suitable for the South and East of the UK because of their flatter lands, more fertile soils and warmer, dryer climate. While steeper slopes, wetter weather and higher winds, highland areas in the North and the West of the UK make livestock farming more suitable.
Agriculture is currently of a multi-billion pound value to the UK economy and provides jobs to over four million people. It also offers a greater contribution to the UK economy than the trade, education, finance and insurance sectors.
Agriculture also meets a huge proportion of the domestic food consumption requirements and contributes billions of pounds of revenues and Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy. It also provides hundreds of thousands of direct agricultural jobs and supports additional tens of thousands of jobs via supply chains.
The UK also exports raw or lightly processed agricultural products such as lamb, mutton, beef and some cereals to primary markets in the Irish Republic, Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United States and the Middle East.
Agriculture is so vital to the UK economy that it supports not only crop growing and production but additional industries such as tourism, engineering and renewable energy.
Agriculture is also important for protecting against soil erosion and managing the country’s water resources as well as enhancing air quality. In the UK, the promotion of the use of water and mineral fertilisers has decreased, and annual ammonia emissions have dropped greatly.
Agriculture continues to contribute significantly to the UK economy and will continue to do so for a very long time. This is because of the government’s commitment to food security, trade, employment and the environment.
For more information about agriculture in the UK, contact us.