Austria has a population of more than 8 million people. The agriculture sector in Austria is small compared to many, but is highly diversified and efficient, playing a significant role within Austria’s economy.
Austria is home to nearly 300 food-processing companies, many of which rely upon imported agricultural goods. This industry manufactures Austria’s leading exports, namely meat, milk, and other dairy products; thus, cattle farming and dairy production are considered vital to the country’s important agricultural production sectors. For many farmers, dairy and cattle production make up their main source of income. Due to mountainous conditions that prevent native crop production, imported raw materials, often for animal feed, are crucial to keeping these two related industries thriving.
80-98% of the food energy consumed in Austria comes from crops that are not native to the region. Most of these plants’ diversity is found elsewhere on the planet. There are 11,154 crop varieties in collections of crop diversity found in Austria compared to more than 700,000 found in the international collections of crop diversity supported by the Crop Trust.
Austria ratified the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2005, joining 132 other contracting parties in commitment to the global system.