Reliable data on the agricultural sector are necessary to develop the common and national agricultural policy. Agricultural statistics are therefore primarily used to design and monitor the agricultural policy. Above this public administrations, professional organisations of the agricultural and agro-food sector (board of agriculture, farmer organisations, …), research institutes and citizens ( for instance in the educational field or consumer organisations) are also important users of agricultural statistics.
The divison of agricultural statistics, agricultural markets and external relations of the Service d’Economie Rurale (SER) assumes a coordination role for agricultural statistics within the Ministry of Agriculture.
The main sources for data on agricultural production, on the use of production means by farmers and on the producer prices for agricultural products and on the prices of agricultural production means are the yearly agricultural census, the farm accountancy data network (FADN) and special surveys in the agrifood sector. Administrative data are given a preference as far as possible. The administrative burden for the data providers and compilers is thus reduced.
The data are published in a varying periodicity depending on the nature of the data: data on animal productions (milk, meat) are published weekly, monthly and annually, data on crop production are published annually. The data are transmitted by SER to EUROSTAT and published by EUROSTAT in a harmonised way for the European Union. The data are also published at national level by SER and the statistical office STATEC.
The further development of agricultural statistics has to take into account the new objectives of the common agricultural policy (CAP). New subjects of agricultural statistics are i.a. the effects of agriculture on the environment and renewable energy from agricultural sources.
The different domains developed hereafter are: