The purchase price of arable land in Romania was the cheapest in the European Union in 2016, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on March 22.
On average, the Netherlands recorded the most expensive purchase price of one hectare of arable land in the EU in 2016 (63 000 euro).The price of arable land in every region of the Netherlands was above all other available national averages in the EU.
However, among the EU regions for which data are available, the most expensive price for arable land was in the Liguria region of Italy (an average 108 000 euro a hectare).
Arable land was cheapest in Romania, with a hectare costing an average 1958 euro in 2016. At the regional level, a hectare of arable land cost least in the south-western region of Bulgaria (an average 1165 euro).
The level of land prices depends on a number of national (laws), regional (climate, proximity to networks) and localised factors (soil quality, slope, drainage etc.) as well as the market forces of supply and demand (including influence of foreign ownership rules), Eurostat said.
As such, it is interesting to note developments in prices for regions over time, the statistics agency said.
From the data available, the strongest growth in land prices of arable land between 2011 and 2016 was in the Czech Republic (a three-fold increase), Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Hungary (a two-fold increase).
Prices rose in other EU countries too, albeit at much lower rates.
In almost all regions, buying arable land was more expensive than buying permanent grassland (as much as 20 times more expensive in the Greek islands of Voreio Aigaio).
Likewise, buying irrigable arable land was more expensive than non-irrigable arable land (as much as six times more expensive in the Spanish Región de Murcia).
Not all land is owned by the farmer working the land. Many farmers rent their land, as either a short- or long-term business decision.
The cost of renting land is another factor that farmers have to absorb in their business.
Mirroring the variation in arable land prices, annual rental prices of one hectare of agricultural land (arable or permanent grassland) also vary starkly between member states and regions within member states.
Renting one hectare of agricultural land was most expensive in the Netherlands (an average 791 euro for the year), with the highest regional average in Flevoland (in the Netherlands) being almost twice the national average (1536 euro for the year).
Renting agricultural land was cheapest on average in Latvia (46 euro a hectare a year), although the cheapest regions in the EU for renting were Mellersta Norrland and Övre Norrland in Sweden (both 28 euro a hectare a year). As with land prices, renting permanent grassland was cheaper than renting arable land, Eurostat said.
(Photo: Dido Ivanov)