Country Focus Data: United Kingdom
March 01, 1999
by Emily Wilson
The capital of the United Kingdom is London.
Demography: Population 59 million, 0.25% growth rate (1998 estimates); English language; Christian religion.
Geography: In Western Europe, consisting of islands between the North Atlantic Ocean, North Sea; temperate climate; rugged hills; level to rolling plains in east and southeast.
Government: Constitutional monarchy. Chief of state is Queen Elizabeth II; head of government is Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF).
Economy: Market, among the four largest in Western Europe. The government since 1980 has greatly reduced public ownership. Services, especially banking, insurance and business services, account for nearly 67% of gross domestic product. Agriculture accounts for about 2% of G.D.P. and employs 1.1% of the labor force.
G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$21,200, 3.5% growth rate (1997 estimates).
Currency: British pound sterling. Feb. 8, 1999 exchange rate: 0.613543 pounds per U.S. dollar. The United Kingdom is not participating in the initial release of the Euro currency.
Exports: U.S.$268 billion (f.o.b., 1997), manufactured goods, machinery.
Imports: U.S.$283.5 billion (f.o.b., 1997), manufactured goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods.
Major crops/agricultural products: Wheat, barley, oilseeds, potatoes, cattle.
Wheat: Five-year average production was 14.8 million tonnes per year, in a range of 13.3 million to 16.1 million tonnes. Total annual use averaged 11.9 million tonnes, with feed use accounting for 52.5% of the total. Exports averaged 3.9 million tonnes per year.
Barley: Five-year average barley production averaged 7 million tonnes, in a range of 5.9 million to 7.9 million tonnes. Total annual use averaged 5.7 million tonnes.
Oilseeds: Since 1980, British farmers have increased plantings of oilseeds in the form of rapeseed from 92,000 ha to 530,000 ha in 1998. Production has increased to 1.6 million tonnes in 1998 from 300,000 in 1979.
Transportation: Rail, 16,878 km, mostly 1.435-m gauge; highways, 372,000 km, all paved; major ports: London, Liverpool, Hull.