East Germany Economic Sectors

German Democratic Republic. – Agriculture. The importance of the sector has progressively decreased, so much so that its share in the formation of the national product has dropped from 14% to 8% (and the decrease in investment in the sector has been similar). The number of companies also declined, from nearly 7 million to 4.6 million. The arable land has been increased by about 100,000 ha and is now just under 5 million ha, but the production increases have been much greater, given the widespread use of herbicides. Among cereals, barley, with over 46 million q, exceeds wheat (35), while the more traditional cultivation of rye is decreasing (21); The other traditional crop, that of potatoes, also decreases, with 91.7 million q still remaining the fundamental one. Fruit and vegetable production did not have great variations, except for the increase in apples (which, again abstracting from the former USSR, will strengthen the German continental primacy); among industrial crops, beets prevail (62 million q), for which Germany takes away the primacy of France. Great attention has been given to breeding, with significant increases in the pig, sheep and poultry sector (which respectively account for over 12 million for the former, 2.6 for the latter and 49 for the third); the increase in cattle was lower (5.7), but treated qualitatively, so that the increases in the production of milk, butter and cheese were much more substantial. Fishing, another source of protein, has a production that varies between 150,000 and 200,000 tons of fish. The utilization of the forests is constantly above 10 million m3 of lumber.

Mining and energy production. The mining sector is always based on only two resources, however present in large quantities. About 310 million tons of lignite are extracted, a record that no country can approach: the unified Germany will produce 30% of the world total.

The main basins are always the central one of Leipzig and the southern one of Senftberg. For potassium salts, production reached 3.5 million t, so that Germany overtakes Canada as the second producer, with one fifth of the world total: the production districts are those of Bleicherode, Halle and Stassfurt (where they are associated with sodium salts). Modest are, like those of the western sector, the productions of iron, zinc, copper, oil; those of radioactive minerals from the Ore Mountains are unknown, but they certainly become interesting when added to those of western Menzenschwand. A 1.8 GW nuclear power plant is in operation in Rheinsberg, but the country’s thermoelectric power plants are always based on local lignite cokerisation techniques:

Industrial activities. With about half of the active population employed in the sector, industries supply three quarters of the national product and exports (including construction in the first case). The steel industry, based on lignite and imported iron, in the Eighties saw a strong increase, reaching the production of 2.7 million tons of pig iron and 7.8 million of steel in 1989. The crisis in the steel industry in 1989 was not affected in the slightest. Western world, whose repercussions are instead foreseeable in the immediate future. The availability of electricity has favored the development of the electrometallurgy of aluminum (53,900 ta Bitterfeld) and copper. The mechanical industries have also come to export to the Western world, and the various economic plans have had as their purpose the development of Berlin, where it can be said that all industrial sectors are flourishing today, while other cities are distinguished by the presence of limited production types. Potsdam is the locomotive production center; Brandenburg and Thuringia produce tractors and agricultural machinery; Leipzig, Dresden and Erfurt are the other centers of electrical engineering; Furthermore, Dresden has joined forces with Jena for the production of optical systems, photographic equipment and precision mechanics. Associated with these productions is the glass factory, present with a long tradition in Saxony and Thuringia, where it joins an equally famous ceramic industry. Halle and Magdeburg are the main centers of basic chemistry, fertilizers and plastics, while Suhl is the main center of firearms (another widely exported product).

According to Animalerts, the economic balance of Eastern Europe at the time of unification was slightly active thanks to industrial exports and trade with the West was gradually increasing; further progress is foreseeable in this area as well. In the immediate future there is the fear of a sharp rise in unemployment, given the much more sustained production rates that the market economy requires on jobs.

East Germany Economic Sectors