Bioeconomy is a response of the European Union and its member states to global challenges such as ensuring food security, mandatory sustainable management of natural resources, mitigating climate change and reducing dependency on non-renewable resources. One of the sectors playing an important role in the development of bioeconomy is agriculture, which accounts for the largest part of biomass used as a raw material for producing bioproducts. This paper is an attempt to answer the following questions: What is the essence and significance of the bioeconomy sector in the EU? How significant is agriculture to the bioeconomy sector? What is the potential and competitiveness of agriculture in EU countries? Data used in surveys is sourced from the Data-Modelling platform of agro-economics research and covers the years 2008–2017. The position of agriculture in the bioeconomy was determined based on measures such as level of employment and gross value added (GVA), turnover, while its competitiveness was assessed based on labour productivity. The results of surveys showed that more than 50% of all bioeconomy workers were employed in agriculture. The sector produced nearly 30% GVA and had a more than 18% share in bioeconomy turnover. Member states of the European Union featured diverse agricultural potential. At the same time, the productivity of agriculture was one of the lowest in the bioeconomy sector. The importance of agriculture stems not only from its food function, but also from the production of biomass. However, its social function is equally important, and in the face of escalating environmental problems the function connected with reducing external costs and producing environmental public goods has become complementary.
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