With vast stretches of farmland and a rich valley on its southeastern border, Luxembourg has a respected and thriving agriculture and viticulture sector.
Although the number of farms has decreased in the past few decades, around half of the land in the Grand Duchy is still used for agriculture. In 2018, output from this land generated €395 million, 57.5 percent of which was from livestock while the rest came from crops. Cattle, pigs, and sheep dominate the livestock industry, while the most important agricultural products are cereals, particularly wheat, rye, barley, and buckwheat. Another important agricultural product, both in terms of its economic contribution as well as its place in Luxembourgish culture, is wine, many varieties of which come from the dozens of vineyards that line the Moselle river.
Luxembourg is making steady progress toward reaching specific environmental and sustainability goals. Over the years, an increasing number of farms have adopted organic methods, a number that will greatly rise within the next few years. In 2020, the government announced an action plan called PAN-Bio 2025, which aims to ensure that by the year 2025, 20 percent of farmland will be used in organic farming. In addition to this, Luxembourg is part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which ensures that EU subsidies are linked to sustainable, green farming practices such as crop diversification, maintaining permanent grasslands, and creating ecological focus areas. Luxembourg also has a Rural Development Programme (RDP), which is designed around EU priorities including restoring, preserving, and enhancing ecosystems linked to agriculture and forestry.
The biggest crops in Luxembourg are wheat and spelt, which together account for 14,494 hectares of farmland. These are followed by corn (13,648 hectares), barley (7,713 hectares), triticale (4,604 hectares), and rapeseed (3,973 hectares). Luxembourg also has a bountiful fruit and vegetable harvest. In 2014, when the most recent figures were published, over 3,000 tons of fruit and 2,500 tons of vegetables were produced in the Grand Duchy. The products that accounted for most of the harvest were apples (2,615 tons), carrots (1,000 tons), lettuce (427 tons), and pears (282 tons). As proof of its commitment to the environment and adopting safe farming methods, Luxembourg was the first country to implement the EU ban on the herbicide glyphosate, which will take full effect in 2021.
In 2012, the Grand Duchy was ranked no. 1 in the world in terms of meat consumption. The ranking cited figures from a few years before showing that residents consumed an average of 135 kilograms of meat per year. Much of the country’s fondness for meat comes from its reputable and healthy livestock industry, which has exceeded European quality standards for over 20 years. Animals are typically bred on family-owned farms, and they spend much of their lives grazing in meadows. Luxembourgers are very proud of the sector, and the demand for Luxembourgish meat is a testament to its high quality.
Cattle account for the largest segment of livestock, and in 2015 there were 201,036 cows in the country. This figure was followed by 95,337 pigs, 9,453 sheep, 4,772 goats, and 113,727 chickens. Milk and dairy products like yogurt and cheese – including the traditional kachkéis, a cooked, runny delicacy – are extremely popular, especially those that come from Luxlait and other Luxembourgish producers. As the population grows, so too is milk production steadily climbing, from 270,000 tons in 1980 to 346,300 tons in 2015.
Luxembourgish wine, which has been produced since the Roman empire extended over the land, is increasingly valued, so much that the famous French wine guide Le Guide Hachette des Vins has taken note. The 2019 edition gave very high reviews to 40 Luxembourgish wines from 19 producers. Along the 37 kilometres between Schengen in the southeast up to Wasserbillig, where the Moselle river cuts into Germany, a total of nine different grape varieties are cultivated: Riesling, Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Gewürztraminer, Auxerrois, Rivaner, Elbling, and Chardonnay. In addition to traditional wine, Luxembourg also produces a sparkling wine called crémant, which is appreciated by regional connoisseurs and is a staple at nearly every social gathering.