The number of pigs reared in Belgium dropped to 6.8 million last year, its lowest level in three decades, according to farm statistics from the Federal Public Service for Economy (SPF Economy). On the other hand, the number of chickens increased by 14%, reaching an all-time high.
Investors are pumping more and more money into poultry and increasingly less into pig rearing. By October 15, the cut-off date for annual statistics, Belgium had 14 million layers and 28 million meat birds, according to SPF Economy, which reports that the number of chickens raised for their meat has been increasing by an estimated 19% annually.
SPF Economy also compares the performance of apples and pears. The area devoted to pear trees has more than doubled in the past 20 years and now totals 9,500 hectares (ha), while apples grow on 6,000 ha.
Statistics released by the service also show that, for the first time since 2011, the amount of land used to grow beetroot has not diminished and it even increased by 3,189 ha (+6%) in 2016, totaling 55,536 ha.
For its part, the area occupied by potato farms continued to expand, a trend observed in recent years. Before that, it had decreased by two-thirds in 40 years.