As with so many other official statistics, the first half of the nineteenth century saw the beginnings of those relating to agriculture in most of the countries of western Europe, and the second half saw their extension to eastern Europe. In some ways, perhaps, it is surprising that Britain, which was the first country to face difficulties in feeding itself without substantial imports, during the Napoleonic Wars, was not the first to collect agricultural statistics. However, the administrative machinery was lacking there until around the middle of the nineteenth century, and by that time there was a good deal of opposition to the principle of government inquisition; and this was not overcome until the late 1860s, or even, so far as output statistics were concerned, until the 1880s. Meanwhile, official agricultural statistics had begun in almost every other country in Europe, where suspicion of governments was less, or, at any rate, amenability to their enquiries was greater.


Sugar Cane Sugar Beet Official Publication External Trade Fodder Beet 
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© B.R. Mitchell 1975

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