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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/84

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

If we turn to the statistics, we find that not all agricultural products went down in price. Beginning with the early seventies and running through the following twenty years, the price of bacon is seen to have fallen only 8 per cent. Butter even rose in price by 13 per cent. This indeed was explained by a thorough improvement in its quality, but it was at all events a hint of great importance for the farmer.

With surprising quickness Danish agriculture shifted the helm. Facing conditions as they were, Denmark now turned her attention to bacon and butter; and instead of exporting grain she now began to import it, depending for her supply more and more on North America and the other granaries of the world, in order to increase her output of the more valuable products. A few figures will show the revolution which took place. In 1870 the value of Denmark's excess of exports of grain was 38,000,000 kroner; in the early eighties it was almost nil, and now the grain import increases from year to year. At the opening of the present century she was importing grain to the value of 50,000,000 kroner per annum, and the following years brought a further rise. Rye and wheat were the chief grains imported, but maize was also imported in rapidly increasing quantities. Other important animal foods were also imported, particularly oilcakes, as well as an increasing quantity of fertilizer. All this bears witness to the great change in our agricultural economy. And if we glance at the exports, the picture will be complete. Toward the end of the sixties the annual exports of butter amounted to about 5,000,000 kilos; at the beginning of this century they had increased to 70,000,000 kilos. The exports of cattle increased from upwards of 50,000 head at the close of the sixties to more than 100,000 head fifteen years later. These exports were reduced in 1892, indeed, by England's prohibition on the importation of cattle from the continent and the barriers raised by Germany in 1897 under alleged reference to sanitary conditions; but to offset this Denmark then began slaughtering at home and exporting meat. The change is especially noteworthy in the case of swine, bacon and ham. From an