Denmark Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Denmark Facts

Denmark is known for its architecture, art, films, performing arts, ballet and opera.
Capital: Copenhagen
Official language: Danish
Currency: Danish krone Passport and visa: A Finnish citizen needs a passport or identity card as a travel document. Time difference to Finland: -1 Data without obligation.

Agriculture and fishing

Almost two-thirds of Denmark’s total area consists of cultivated arable land. Agriculture has traditionally been the basis for Denmark’s foreign trade, but has long been economically important by the industry, not to mention the huge service sector. Not many Danes are aware that shipping earns more than twice as much currency as agriculture.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Denmark. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

Agriculture has undergone major changes since the 1950s to adapt to technical and economic developments. The number of farms has decreased, and the trend has been towards ever larger farms. The average size of 2015 was 72 hectares. Today, a total of 70 percent of all arable land is cultivated by 7,900 large farms of 100 hectares or more (230 hectares on average).

Only 2.5 percent of the labor force is employed in agriculture, compared with 20 percent in the 1950s when production was far lower. The sector accounts for 1.5 percent of GDP, the same as in Sweden, and both are among the 20 countries in the world that are least dependent on agriculture. Pig breeding is a major industry, as is dairy production and fur breeding. The most important export products are pork, cheese, mink skins, preserves and beer. Agriculture accounts for 12 per cent of goods exports and 7 percent of total exports of goods and services. For Denmark defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.

With agriculture comes environmental problems such as eutrophication and chemical control of weeds and pests and antibiotic use in the large pig herds. Many believe that production has become too efficient and that it would be better to invest more in quality and processing and less in quantity. Another problem is that many farmers, especially pig producers, have invested so much that they are vulnerable when market prices fall. It happened when the crisis hit the world economy in 2008-2009, and prices did not recover much in the following years. In 2015, 160 farmers went bankrupt and in January-June 2016 133 farmers had to give up. Agriculture’s total indebtedness is approximately SEK 370 billion and the return on capital is only some percent.

Forest covers only a ninth part of Denmark’s surface, but is important for the environment and for the well-being. There are plans to double the forest area by planting forests on the worst agricultural land. Danish specialties that are exported to the European market are high quality ornamental plants and Christmas trees.

Fishing is relatively important for Denmark. Of the EU countries, only Spain and the United Kingdom pick up as many tonnes of fish as Denmark. Fish exports comprise 2.5 percent of Denmark’s goods exports. Most of the catches are processed in the large fish industry. The largest fishing ports are Hvide Sande, Hanstholm, Thyborøn and Skagen. As everywhere in Europe and elsewhere, Danish fishing has suffered from reduced fish stocks as a result of increasingly efficient fishing methods.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

1.0 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

62.0 percent (2016)

  • Offers how the 3-letter acronym of DMK stands for the state of Denmark in geography.



Justice Minister resigns after “PET affair”

The head of the Danish Security Police (PET) resigns following a political battle over PET’s work environment. The security police have also been criticized for their way of managing the Danish people’s party leader Kjærsgaard’s personal protection. Later, Minister of Justice Morten Bødskovs also resigns from the Social Democracy, since it is clear that he has provided false information to the Justice Committee in the PET affair. Agriculture Minister Karen Hekkerup from the Social Democracy will be new Minister of Justice. At the same time, Foreign Minister Søvdals leaves his post for health reasons and is succeeded by Holger K Nielsen of the Socialist People’s Party.


The Deputy Minister of Development is forced to resign

Deputy Minister Christian Friis Bach from the Radical Left is forced to resign after it has been revealed that he has tried to hide his knowledge of Løkke Rasmussen’s travel expenses (see November 2013). Friis Bach is succeeded by his party mate Rasmus Helveg Petersen.

The government is supported by the bourgeois

In the negotiations on the state budget for 2014, the government receives support from Venstre and the Conservative People’s Party.

Social democracy is greatest in local elections

In the municipal elections, the Social Democracy becomes the largest party, but Venstre takes home the most mayor posts (46 out of 98). The Danish People’s Party gets for the first time one of the six mayor posts in Copenhagen. The Unity List increases most of all parties and becomes the second largest party in Copenhagen.


“Lux-Loop” receives criticism

Ekstra Bladet publishes an article about Venstreledaren Løkke Rasmussen’s luxurious travel habits. His first-class air tickets for a state-supported environmental organization have cost an average of SEK 50,000. The opposition leader is given desert names such as “The King of the Travel” (Resekungen) and “Lyx-Løkke”.


Criticism of the handling of interpreters

Defense Minister Nick Hekkerup receives harsh criticism from the opposition that the government cannot account for what has happened to some of the Afghan interpreters who worked for the Danish military in Afghanistan. All interpreters have been promised to apply for asylum in Denmark (see May 2013) and some have done so, but the government does not know the names of 37 of the interpreters and does not know where they are.


Afghan interpreters may seek asylum

A broad settlement in the parliament means that about 200 Afghan interpreters who have helped the Danish military in Afghanistan have the opportunity to seek asylum in Denmark. Some of them may be threatened by the Taliban. The Danish People’s Party is against the decision.

The Prime Minister expanded during the first of May

Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt and Minister of Finance B Corydon are crocheted and bowed out when they speak on May 1st. The teacher lockout (see April 2013) has upset many Danes and the government is given some of the blame for the conflict because of a proposal for a school reform that requires more teaching hours for teachers.


Lockout within the teaching staff

A trade union conflict over working hours results in about 60,000 teachers being excluded from municipal schools, which affects over half a million primary school students and several hundred thousand other students. The lockout lasts for four weeks, and the battle is won by employers who want to abolish the working time agreement and give school leaders influence over how teachers’ working hours should be divided between teaching and preparation.


The divide is increasing in the Socialist People’s Party

The contradictions within the Socialist People’s Party are exacerbated by Annette Vilhelmsen’s leadership (see October 2012). A number of leading younger politicians leave the party and move on to the Social Democracy.


The Danish People’s Party and the Social Democracy are equally large

In an opinion poll, the Danish People’s Party for the first time becomes as large as the Social Democracy. Both parties receive just over 17 percent of voter sympathies. The government receives very low popular support and would lose an election if it were held at present.

Denmark Agriculture and Fishing