The primary sector (1.1% of the active population and 1.6% of GDP), despite the unfavorable climatic and podological conditions, is vital. The portion of cultivated land is modest (less than 8% of the total area), distributed mainly between central Sweden, Scania and the islands of Öland and Gotland, but thanks to the adoption of advanced agricultural techniques, productivity is high.. The crops of cereals (barley, wheat, oats and rye) are good, while among the other food crops the only notable one is that of the potato and, among the industrial ones, sugar beet. Greenhouse horticulture is constantly expanding. The entry into the European Union has accelerated some processes of reconversion of the sector, with a decisive reduction in the number of companies and an increase in their size.
● Livestock breeding, located almost exclusively in a south-eastern strip close to the main agricultural areas, is mainly centered on cattle, which supply meat and dairy products for both domestic consumption and export. Fur animals are also raised, mainly foxes and minks, and reindeer in the north of the country.
● Fishing is an increasingly marginal activity, but modern shipping and efficient port facilities make it possible to land between 200,000 and 300,000 tons of fish annually, to which must be added the contribution of aquaculture. The coastal sea areas with the most fish are located in front of Gothenburg and around the island of Gotland.
● The exploitation of the forest heritage (66% of the territory), one of the largest in Europe, is of great economic importance. In the northern belt of conifers there is most of the state-owned forests, while the southern belt of mixed or pure deciduous forest is mainly in private hands. Despite the considerable restrictions imposed for environmental protection reasons, 60-65 million m3 of wood are produced annually, mostly exported, including in the form of pulp or paper. 3.3 Mining and energy production. Mining, widely known for the excellent quality of Lapland iron and, to a lesser extent, for its copper, lead and zinc resources, has in the past exerted a strong incentive to the specialized metallurgical industry. The mining activity of Sweden, equipped with advanced technologies, is imposing itself on numerous international markets: in fact, Australia, Brazil and other South American countries and some African states. Poor in fossil fuels (coal and peat are present in Scania), Sweden can count on a good supply of uranium (with which it powers its nuclear power plants) and, above all, on the richness of the waters, which provide abundant hydroelectric energy. However, the country is forced to import large quantities of oil for means of transport. For Sweden business, please check cheeroutdoor.com.
● Great attention has been given to research on alternative sources, also in the wake of environmental concerns widespread in public opinion and acknowledged by government programs. 3.4 Industry. As far as industry is concerned (28.2% of the active population and 26.6% of GDP), the fastest growing branches are the metalworking, aeronautics, chemists (in particular, pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies), but above all the electronics and telecommunications sectors. The steel industry (engine of industrial development after the Second World War and renowned for the production of special steels which are widely exported) entered into crisis and ceased to be competitive, except for highly specialized productions, in the 1980s. A notable decline in the same period it also affected the mechanical industries, in particular shipbuilding and automotive industries. The wood industry is important, with numerous sawmills, pulp and wood pulp factories, and paper factories. The food industry also deserves a mention, which, located above all in the central-southern regions, has had a strong relaunch of production also thanks to the spread of the consumption of frozen foods.
● The Swedish trade balance is in net surplus. The main export items are machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, paper, timber, steel. Imports weigh heavily on oil and derivatives. The main trading partners are, in addition to the other countries of the Fennoscandia, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the United States.
● Among the tertiary activities, tourism deserves a mention, but it is more active than receptive: a traditional outgoing current in fact goes, every year, to the Mediterranean countries. 3.5 Communications. The Sweden has developed, especially in the central-southern areas, a dense road network (425,300 km in 2009, of which 139,300 were asphalted), and rail (11,633 km); but inland navigation on lakes is also important, many of which are connected to each other by canals. A grandiose bridge over the Øresund, between the metropolitan area of Copenhagen and that of Malmö, was inaugurated in 2000, providing the international agglomeration overlooking the narrow one with a stable connection, previously ensured only by frequent ferries. The merchant navy, once prestigious in the world, sees the fleet continually dwindling (currently reduced to about 195 units). However, international shipping is always alive, with a dozen ports serving foreign trade. The main ones are Gothenburg, Luleå, Stockholm, Malmö, Helsingborg. International airports in Arlanda (Stockholm) and Landvetter (Gothenburg).