This paper presents the situation of the agricultural labour employment and evaluates the agricultural labour productivity in Hungary. Since Hungary’s EU accession, the share of agricultural employment in the total employed population has been stabilized at around 5% in the country. Due to low wages, low profit and low prestige, agricultural jobs are not attractive. The gross and net labour productivity gap between Hungary and the EU have been significant since the EU accession. The agricultural labour productivity of the Hungarian regions also shows a different picture. The labour productivity influences the cost, profitability and competitiveness of products. The advantage of the cheap labour force in Hungary’s agriculture significantly decreased due to low labour productivity. There are several opportunities to increase the agricultural labour productivity such as the increase of labour force qualification, moving toward producing higher value added agri-food products, rejuvenation of population in agriculture and the improvement of the conditions of financing agriculture.
Almost fifteen years have passed since the reunification of Germany. At the beginning of the 1990s, it was still unclear how the agricultural sector in the former East Germany would be able to survive, as it was still characterized by large scale farms, organized for a socialist economy. The course of this essay will look at how the agricultural productivity has changed the two different productivity systems in the western and eastern part of Germany.
Productivity can be defined as output produced per unit of input. If we define productivity indicator as output per one type of inputs then we get so-called partial productivity index, however, if we define productivity indicator as output produced per unit of more than one inputs we get multi-factor productivity.
In agriculture, the most often used partials productivity indexes are: labour, capital, land productivity and intermediate consumption productivity.
The analysis of total factor productivity requires the aggregation of all inputs by using input prices.
Hungarian dairy sector went through significant changes in past two decades. The most significant changes were caused by our accession to the European Union. In Hungary milk production remarkably declined after EU accession. The size of our dairy herd has been practically reducing since the political transformation, but increasing yields per cow could compensate it in some way and for some time. However, in recent years, increasing yield per cow came to a stop and in parallel, the number of cows declined further and faster. Low prices, high production costs and tightening quality requirements ousted several producers from the market in past years. Feeding cost represents the highest rate in cost structure of production, but animal health expenditures and various losses are also significant. There are undeniably competitive disadvantages in the level of organisation and labour productivity; however competitiveness already depends on cost effectiveness in the medium run. In Hungary concentration of the dairies is relatively strong in spite of the relative high number of corporations. The dairies compete with each other and with the export market for the raw material and the better exploitation of their capacities. Applied technology of the Hungarian dairies lags behind the Western-European competitors’; in addition they have handicaps in efficiency and product innovation. Presence of chain of stores being dominant in sale of milk products does also not favour in all respects to the position of the dairies. The aforementioned retail chains are namely consumer-centric, engage in price follower conduct and weaken the position of the dairies with their private label products. As a result of increasing import of milk and milk products Hungary became a net importer in recent years. Today, disposable income still essentially determines the consumption habits of price-sensitive consumers. Loyalty for Hungarian products is not typical, consumers are open for import products being preferred by retail chains. In addition Hungarian milk and milk product consumption is about half of the Union average and it is far behind the level being necessary for healthy eating. In Hungary lack of competitiveness and vertical integration relationships and backwardness are revealing among the dairy farmers and the dairies, while chain of stores are in unprecedented “monopolistic situation”; the whole sector can be characterised by defencelessness.
Employment policy has won primary attention both at national and EU levels for the past decade. Managing its problems has become one of the major social economic and political challenges. One of the problems is the aging of the continent’s population, which is in close relation with the slow increasing or decreasing economic trends.
Comparing the EU’s unemployment, employment and labour productivity rates to those of ten years earlier a positive tendency can be traced. On of the other hand compared with the USA, Japan or the average of OECD countries the Community has still not been able to reduce its several decades lasting leeway. Difficulties of labour management are much more striking in rural territories than in urban districts. Not even the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy: the rural development has been successful in managing the employment of the labour superseded
from the primer sector so far, which is significantly reflected in the unfavourable indicators of labour management and unemployment.