Agriculture as the backbone of the economic system of the Slovak Republic
In 2016, agriculture accounted for 3.6% of Slovakia’s GDP and occupied about 3.9% of the labour force. Farming sector is characterised by large farm holdings - the average farm size in Slovakia is 77.5 hectares, relative to the EU average of 14.4 ha. Over 40% of the land in Slovakia is cultivated.
The primary agricultural products are sugar beets, potatoes, wheat, barley, fruit, forest products, corn, pigs, cattle, poultry, and sheep. Another important sector in Slovakia's agriculture is malting and beer production. The country's most important agricultural trading partners are the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland.
Room for Improvement
The main challenge for the country’s agriculture is the lack of interest among young people in going into farming. Furthermore, R&D sector lacks investments. Only approximately 0,7% of Slovakia’s GDP is spent on scientific research, which represents one of the lowest scientific budgets in Europe. Slovakia’s agri-food sector needs fundamental support and incentives for farmers to remain in the market through enhancing eco-systems related to agriculture.
EIT Food Hub in Slovak Republic: Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra
Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra is the only agricultural university in Slovak Republic. One of the main research focuses of the university is the food sector. With its national scope, the university brings the education, research and development and the transfer into practise together. The relevant internal infrastructure of the university for "agricultural product - food system" prioritly includes the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences and the AgroBioTech Research Center with Transfer Centre. The university created National Platform AgroBioFood Nitra to present Slovak Republic in the field of foodstuffs and biotechnology as the national node.
The national dish of Slovakia, bryndzove; haluky, is potato-dough gnocchi topped with soft sheep bryndza cheese and fried bits of bacon. The dish exemplifies the nature of Slovak cuisine; high-energy, low-cost and quick to prepare.