ECONOMY: GENERAL INFORMATION
Until the mid-nineteenth century Sweden was a poor country; the productive activities were almost exclusively represented by agriculture, fishing and limited trade with the other Baltic States. However, we must remember the policy of non-alignment in times of peace and of neutrality in times of war, officially sanctioned in 1818: almost 200 years of uninterrupted peace have undoubtedly facilitated the progressive consolidation of economic structures. However, according to Dentistrymyth, the start of Swedish prosperity was linked above all to the birth of industrial activities (which, given the lack of coal, took place with considerable delay compared to the large industrial countries of Europe).
ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING
At the end of the twentieth century agriculture still occupied two thirds of the active population; the number of employees is much lower, but productivity has increased considerably: a clear reflection of the efficient organization of the economy, the conspicuous government intervention and the use of advanced technologies. Despite the certainly not favorable natural conditions (with the exception of the fertile moraine soils of Scania and the marine sediments that cover the Svealand), agriculture records high yields and allows the country to be self-sufficient for some products. Subject of careful attention, the sector has gradually perfected and specialized its activities, in particular by associating them with breeding; government policy tends to concentrate agriculture in the most profitable areas, favoring the cooperative system. Cereal farming (barley, wheat, oats and rye), once predominant, indeed sufficiently developed to allow a fair export, has been progressively replaced in part by more profitable forage and industrial crops: insufficient to cover national needs, it nevertheless remains a important activity. A fundamental product for food is the potato, which is widespread given the favorable conditions present almost throughout Sweden. Oats and barley are also cultivated up to high latitudes, while the area suitable for wheat is limited and even more so is that of sugar beet, a great resource of Scania; but, albeit with lower yields, this crop tends to extend into central Sweden; sugar beet remains the main Swedish industrial crop, destined both for the sugar industry and for breeding. Rapeseed and to a lesser extent other oil crops, fruit trees – especially apple trees – and various vegetables (tomatoes, onions, peas, cabbages, etc.) are also grown, the latter frequently in greenhouses, especially near Stockholm, to supply the market abundantly. of the capital. Moreover, the agriculture that is practiced, even in climatic conditions, should not be forgotten to supply abundantly the capital market. Moreover, the agriculture that is practiced, even in climatic conditions, should not be forgotten to supply abundantly the capital market. Moreover, the agriculture that is practiced, even in climatic conditions, should not be forgotten pedological ones among the most difficult, in the northern regions of the country, where companies, by associating forage crops with breeding and forest exploitation, obtain absolutely unthinkable results. Forestry is in fact one of Sweden’s major resources; 67.1% of the territory is covered by dense woods, which extend above all on the highlands and in the North and which supply timber used by a series of paper industries and by the many hundreds of sawmills. A strict legislation governs the use of the woods, which however for approx. half are privately owned. Among the species, conifers clearly prevail (especially pines and firs).
Breeding is well represented, even if the area occupied by permanent meadows and pastures is small; there is no lack of, especially in central Sweden (Svealand), but the activity is essentially stalled, in particular for cattle, among which dairy cows predominate. Milk processing is carried out largely in cooperatives; the dairy industry produces both butter and cheeses. The residues from milk processing are destined for pig breeding by now consistent, while sheep breeding is of lesser importance today. Finally, in Sweden, the characteristic breeding of fur animals and reindeer is also practiced, to which a part of the Lapps, once nomads, but in increasing numbers sedentarized, are dedicated. As regards fishing, Sweden is rather disadvantaged, because the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic, which have very shallow waters and are subject to long periods of winter frost, they do not lend themselves to this activity; the western coasts, on the other hand, are very favored, participating in the same type of fishing practiced in the North Sea, especially rich in herring. Although it is still a marginal sector, it is expanding considerably; the main fishing ports (Stockholm, Visby and Kalmar on the Baltic, Gothenburg and Helsingborg on the straits) are equipped with excellent facilities for processing and preserving the fish.