The first exhaustive, systematic and organized statistical data collection on the agriculture of Portugal took place in 1934, with the "General inventory of livestock and poultry", which was later repeated in 1940 and 1972. In Portugal Mainland, agricultural censuses (farm surveys) were held in 1952-1954, 1968 and 1979, while in 1965, a census was conducted on agricultural holdings in the adjacent islands (Azores and Madeira). The first General Census on Agriculture was carried out in 1989, exhaustively and simultaneously across all regions of the country, and was harmonized with the EU. This was followed by the General Agricultural Census carried out in 1999. The 2009 Agricultural Census (CA 2009) to which the metadata and data presented here refer, was carried out together with the survey on agricultural production methods (SAPM).
The publication of the Agricultural Census 2009 gives users a comprehensive picture of information, which summarizes the main trends in the structure of farms and agriculture production systems in the last decade. We believe that its reading might contribute to the promotion of the debate and reflection on the state of Portuguese agriculture, in particular in the negotiation of the CAP after 2013 and of the problems of selfsufficiency, reflection of the dependence on imports, volatility of commodity agricultural prices and the continued increase in prices of inputs. Some of the most important findings for year 2009
comparing with 1999 are:
- One of every four farms had ceased its activity but the surface of farms still occupies half of the country;
- The small-sized farms continue to prevail but 2/3 of the Utilized Agricultural Area is now managed by farms larger than 50 hectares of utilized agricultural area;
- Increase of Utilized Agricultural Area in more than 2.5 hectares, from an average of 9.3 hectares to about 12 hectares, as a result of the absorption of the surfaces of small farms by the larger ones;
- The number of holdings as a legal entity (agricultural enterprises) grew 23% and 27% of the Utilized Agricultural Area are managed by them;
- Change of the agricultural landscape for more extensive agricultural production systems, with permanent pasture occupying almost half of the Utilized Agricultural Area;
- Enhanced surface reduction of grain cereals, in about 244 thousand hectares;
- Decrease of 23% in irrigated surface;
- Doubling the average size of cattle and pigs herds;
- Increase of 10% in the number of tractors;
- Agricultural family population loses 443 thousand persons but still represents 7% of the resident population;
- Women account for one third of farmers and increased their importance in 8 pp.;
- The average age of farmers increased by 4 years.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
The census scope covered agricultural activities (crop and animal production).
Agriculture & Rural Development
Forests & Forestry
Food (production, crisis)
Land (policy, resource management)
The statistical unit was the agricultural holding defined as a techno-economic unit where there is common use of inputs (labour, machinery, buildings, lands, etc.) and that cumulatively: (i) produces agricultural products or maintains in good agricultural and environmental conditions land which is no longer used for production purposes (as set forth in Regulation EC No. 1782/2003); (ii) reaches or exceeds a specific size (minimum limit); (iii) it is in a specific identifiable location, even when its area covers more than one commune or even more than one municipality; and (iv) is operated under single management of an agricultural holder, who assumes substantive decision-making.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics Portugal (INE)
Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries
The frame consisted of all the agricultural holdings in Portugal. The frame was a list of producers prepared by Statistics Portugal based on its extensive statistical and administrative data files and sources.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The census was conducted through face-to-face interviews, using the PAPI method. Most interviewers (86.3 percent) were also responsible for the recording of data on the laptops they were given.
Three different questionnaires were designed, one for the Mainland and one for each Autonomous Region (Azores and Madeira). The census covered all 16 core items recommended in the WCA 2010. The publication "2009 Agricultural Census - analysis of the main results" - is organised in nine chapters dealing with the following topics:
1. the structure of agricultural holdings
2. Land use
4. Herds of animals
5. Agricultural machinery
6. Agricultural population and labour force
7. Agricultural practices
8. Portuguese agriculture in the European context
9. Methodology and organization and means
a. DATA PROCESSING AND ARCHIVING
Most interviewers used laptops to enter data after collection with a paper questionnaire. The data recording process was characterized as "heads up", given that the tailor-made software application to support the agricultural survey system of Statistics Portugal (SAGR) supplied instantaneous feedback to the staff member using a laptop. Manual data entry was done for the paper questionnaires. The data entry software programme included a series of range and consistency edits that allowed for an initial check of the data, enabling the interviewer to confirm or correct entries in the field.
b. CENSUS DATA QUALITY
Information was analysed through the SAGR software application, by using features specifically developed for the purpose: totalizers, selections of holdings, and comparison with external sources (micro data and aggregate data). There was also extensive use of the available administrative data for the validation of census data.
Statistics Portugal published the preliminary results in December 2010. The final results were released in May 2011. The information is available online on the Statistics Portugal website as a database or as a publication. The available information includes methodology and other metadata of value to data users. To address the needs of the academic community, Statistics Portugal established a protocol to facilitate micro data access for research purposes.
Institute Nacional de Estatistica (INE)
Economic Statistics Department,
Agriculture and Environment Statistics Unit,
Address: Av. Antonio Jose de Almeida, 1000-043 Lisboa, Portugal
Telephone: (+351) 218 426100;
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses