The country has a short coastal strip on the Adriatic sea, an alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, and a combination of mountains and valleys with numerous rivers to the east. According to Koeppens classification, Slovenia has a temperate type climate on the west, close to the Adriatic Sea, and a cold type climate in the rest of the country.
Arable land and permanent crops occupy 285 000 ha, permanent pastures 502 000 ha and forests 1.1 million ha. The main crops are maize, wheat, potatoes, fruits, vegetables and hops.
Labour force participation ratio of women to men was 0.9 in 1998.
Slovenia is the third-largest exporter of pears in the region.
National agricultural policy
Slovenias economic policy has been shaped by preparation for entry into the EU. The Programme of Agricultural Policy Reform (1999-2002) serves as a framework for the harmonization of EU and domestic policies, and the gradual reduction of trade protection and price regulation (e.g. the break-up of the state monopoly in the bread cereal market). The CEFTA agreement introduced duty-free and quota-free provisions for various items, including durum wheat and oilseeds, and preferential tariffs for wheat, barley, flour and selected vegetables and fruits. Slovenia is a member of EPPO.
The farm sector comprises over 92 000 small, mostly part-time, private farms (average 3.5 ha) that own or lease about 92% of agricultural land and produce 75% of total agricultural output. The rest is produced by large agricultural companies on the remaining 8% of the land.
Financial constraints and lack of adequate institutional framework are delaying the structural adjustment of the agricultural sector, intended to raise agricultural productivity and incomes.
Slovenia has a long tradition of seed production and trade, particularly for cereals, maize and sugar beet. Soil and climate in the northeast provide very favourable conditions for seed production. Breeding and research activity covers the main crops, including potatoes and hops. Slovenia has acceded to the OECD Schemes for varietal certification (Herbage and Oilseeds, Cereals, Maize and Sorghum) and has applied to join the scheme for beet.
All laws and regulations on seed from the former F.R. Yugoslavia remained in force until replaced by new Slovenian laws and regulations. A new Seed Law was still pending adoption in 1999, whereas a new law on Plant Variety Protection came into force in February 1999. That law is harmonized with the UPOV Conventions and with Council Regulation (EC) N. 2100/94 on Community plant variety rights.
The Plant Variety Protection and Registration Office of the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for ensuring that the procedure for the evaluation, registration and protection of new varieties is followed. DUS criteria must be met and the results of tests are evaluated by a Commission of Experts. Favourable decisions allow the inclusion in the Register of protected varieties, with appropriate publication.
Slovenia imports about 60% of its seed requirement. Most of the seed produced in the country comes from large farms (former state farms). The Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, in Ljubljana, carries out field inspections and quality control functions and has laboratories accredited with ISTA.
Slovenia has germplasm collections at the University of Ljubljana (55 species, 1 097 accessions), at the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (40 species, 1 088 accessions) and at the Institute of Hop Research and Brewing.