Country Focus Data: Czech Republic

by Melissa Alexander
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Capital: Prague.

Demography: Population 10.3 million, -0.08% growth rate (1999 estimates); Czech language; 40% atheist, 44% Christian religion.

Geography: In east-central Europe, bordering Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovakia; temperate climate; rolling plains, hills and low mountains.

Government: Parliamentary democracy. Chief of state is President Vaclav Havel, head of government is Prime Minister Milos Zeman.

Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture under Minister Jan Fencl.

Economy: Market orientated, but still in transition. Political and financial crises in 1997 undermined the country's image as the most stable of the post-Communist states and forced new austerity programs. Negative growth rates were the result, although the economy this year is rebounding. Direct and indirect government influence remains in some key sectors, including banking. In the past two years, the country has tried to accelerate privatization and legislative convergence with the E.U. in preparation for accession. Agriculture accounts for less than 2% of gross domestic product.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$11,700 (purchasing power parity), -0.5% G.D.P. growth rate, 2.5% inflation (all 1999 estimates).

Currency: Czech koruna. Sept. 15, 2000 exchange rate: 41.3223 koruna per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$26.9 billion (f.o.b., 1999), machinery, equipment, manufactured goods.

Imports: U.S.$29 billion (f.o.b., 1999), machinery, transport equipment, food, fuels.

Major crops/agricultural products: Wheat, barley, rapeseed.

Wheat: Annual production in the past five years averaged 3.726 million tonnes, with domestic use averaging 3.698 million in the same period. Feed use accounted for more than 50% of total use. Exports averaged 275,800 tonnes, reaching a five-year high of 700,000 in 1999-00.

Barley: Another key crop, including malting barley for Czech brewing of beer. Five-year production averaged 2.15 million tonnes, with total use at 2.2 million. Feed use average 1.6 million of the total.

Rapeseed: Production has increased from virtually nothing in the early 1990s to average 705,000 tonnes a year over the past five years. Crush accounts for nearly 100% of the 510,000-tonne average annual consumption, with exports averaging 199,000 tonnes a year.

Transportation: Rail, 9,435 km, mostly 1.435-m gauge; highways, 127,693 km, all paved; river ports are Decin, Prague and Usti nad Labem.

___4960___

(1,000 tonnes)

Production

Consumption

Exports

Imports

Wheat

4,000

3,700

300

0

Flour

826

NA

NA

NA

Barley

1,750

1,875

25

150

Rapeseed

820

520

320

10

2000-01 marketing year estimates for wheat, 1997 for flour

NA = not available

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

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