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Definition: Measuring agricultural output

National accounts

Agricultural output includes certain crop products that are used again by the same holding in the form of intermediate consumption; this concerns mainly products for animal feedingstuffs. For arable crops in particular, regional output may often be determined on the basis of the quantities harvested in each region, these then being given a value via prices. In this case, all output is valued, whether it is intended for marketing outside the industry, sale to other holdings or use by the same holding. The output of each region is thus obtained directly, in line with the concept adopted in the EAA and the RAA. The prices by which output forming intra-unit consumption is valued may also be based on regional data, corresponding to the prices at which output is marketed. However, the lack of regional price data poses a general problem when it comes to valuing output, both (regional) output which is marketed and that which forms intra-unit consumption. Thus the RAA valuation of products forming intra-unit consumption raises the same difficulties as the valuation of products that are marketed. Obviously, it is a different matter when the quantities cannot be valued at regional level. In this case, a top-down method based on national-level valuations is generally the only one that can be used.
As regards animals, whether these are classified as stocks or fixed capital, the following points should be taken into account:
· valuations at regional level of changes in stocks and in GFCF relating to animals, these two flows being in fact components of the indirect method of calculating output;
· valuations of trade in animals between regions, this trade also being a component of the indirect method of calculating output;
· breakdown between regions of the import and export flows of animals;
· appropriate treatment of ownership transfer costs;
· method of adjusting the RAA against the EAA.
In certain cases, the indirect method of calculating animal output can be too difficult at regional level. In such cases, it is better to calculate output on the basis of a model using physical data and then adjust the values to those in the EAA.
Eurostat, "Manual on the economic accounts for agriculture and forestry EAA/EA 97 (Rev. 1.1)", Luxembourg, 2000