Country Focus Data: Belgium

by Emily Wilson
Share This:

Capital: Brussels.

Demography: Population 10.2 million, 0.18% growth rate (2000 estimates); Dutch (58%), French (32%) languages, legally bilingual; 75% Roman Catholic religion.

Geography: In western Europe bordering the North Sea, between the Netherlands and France; temperate climate; flat coastal plains, rolling hills, rugged mountains in southeast.

Government: Parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch. Chief of state is King Albert II; head of government is Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture under Minister Jaak Gabriels.

Economy: A modern, private enterprise economy benefiting from a central location, highly developed transport network and diversified industrial and commercial base. Belgium has few natural resources, relying on imported raw materials and exporting a large volume of manufactured products. Member of the European Union and charter member of the European Monetary Union.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$23,900 (purchasing power parity), -1.8% G.D.P. growth rate, 1% inflation (all 1999 estimates).

Currency: Belgium franc. Oct. 16, 2000 exchange rate: 47.0847 francs per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$187.3 billion (f.o.b., 1999), machinery, equipment, manufactured goods.

Imports: U.S.$172.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999), machinery, equipment, metals, raw materials.

Major crops/agricultural products: Sugar beets, wheat, vegetables, livestock, meat and dairy products.

Wheat: Annual production averages around 1.5 million to 2 million tonnes. With consumption at about 3 million and exports of wheat and products at 1.6 million, Belgium relies on imports for more than half of its needs.

Barley: The other significant cereal crop, including malting barley for brewing of beer. Production averages around 400,000 tonnes annually, with imports of about 1 million providing needed supplies to meet domestic use.

Transportation: Rail, 3,437 km, all 1.435-m gauge; highways, 145,850 km, 117,701 paved; major ports are Antwerp (one of the world's busiest), Brugge and Ghent; Belgium has 1, 528 km of waterways in regular commercial use.

Data

(1,000 tonnes)

Production

Consumption

Exports

Imports

Wheat

1,700

3,200

1,600

3,250

Flour

1,343

NA

NA

NA

Barley

420

1,400

200

1,200

2000-01 marketing year estimates for wheat, 1998 for flour

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, International Grains Council

Partners