STATISTICAL SURVEYS ON THE STRUCTURE OF HOLDINGS WITH HORTICULTURAL ENTERPRISES
- Economic research in horticulture, as well as research in any other field of applied economy can only be done efficiently, if the data needed is available.
Thus, the collection of basic data is often the most tedious part of economic analysis.
Many investigations can only be carried through if the data needed is available in official or private statistics.
It is well known that the application of efficient econometric methods to problems of horticultural market research as well as to horticultural enterprise planning is limited by the lack of sufficient empirical data. Who ever works on supply analysis of horticultural products, in most European countries, will find some official data on cultivated areas, production and trade; but neither the exactitude and break down of the data nor the length of available time series are usually wholly satisfactory.
For example the problem of medium termed forecast of orchard production could be solved easily from the methodological point of view, but in practice it is to-date impossible because of the lack of knowledge about the age pyramid and the most important features influencing the yield per acre of an orchard. This is true, though fruit tree censuses are among the traditional and long established statistical surveys in horticulture.
No further examples are necessary to make clear that horticultural statistics are extremely necessary for horticultural economic research; the economist, therefore has full reason to learn to know and to discuss the sources and the methodological impacts of the statistical data used for his analysis. Furthermore he should concentrate on making statistical surveys more sure, more complete and more adapted to his needs.
It may be true, that in our days occupation with the problems of horticultural statistical surveys does grant by far less social prestige than the occupation with econometric and mathematical models and computer problems. But it is not quite certain if a dollar invested in this field of science yields less interest, and therefore we should pay attention to this area as well.
- As international trade in horticultural products quickly intensified, nearly all important production centers of the world were linked together by the means of foreign trade. The development of the EEC and the EFTA supported this evolution. Consequently, the demand for statistical information becomes greater in science as well as in practice and administration. At the same time the problem of coordinating and approximating the different national statistical methods and concepts on an international level becomes extremely urgent. Several international organizations are concerned with extending and improving the comparability of statistical