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Global organic area continues to grow

Christian Fernsby |
According to the latest Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau FiBL survey on organic agriculture worldwide, organic farmland increased by 1.1 million hectares, and organic retail sales continued to grow, as shown by the data from 187 countries (data as of the end of 2019).

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The 22nd edition of the study "The World of Organic Agriculture" published by FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International shows a continuation of the positive trend seen in the past years. This annual survey on organic agriculture worldwide is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Sustainability Fund of Coop Switzerland and NürnbergMesse, the organizers of the BIOFACH fair.

The global market for organic food reached 106 billion euros in 2019. The United States is the leading market (44.7 billion euros), followed by Germany (12.0 billion euros) and France (11.3 billion euros). In 2019, many major markets continued to show strong growth rates; for example, the French market increased by more than 13 percent. Danish and Swiss consumers spent the most on organic food (344 and 338 euros per capita, respectively). Denmark had the highest organic market share, with 12.1 percent of its total food market.

In 2019, 3.1 million organic producers were reported. India continues to be the country with the highest number of producers (1’366’000), followed by Uganda (210’000), and Ethiopia (204’000). The majority of small-scale producers are certified in groups based on an internal control system.

A total of 72.3 million hectares were organically managed at the end of 2019, representing a growth of 1.6 percent or 1.1 million hectares compared to 2018. Australia has the largest organic agricultural area (35.7 million hectares), followed by Argentina (3.7 million hectares), and Spain (2.4 million hectares). Due to the large area of organic farmland in Australia, half of the global organic agricultural land is in Oceania (36.0 million hectares). Europe has the second largest area (16.5 million hectares), followed by Latin America (8.3 million hectares). The organic area increased in all continents compared to 2018, except in Asia (mainly due to a drop in organic farmland reported from China) and Oceania.

Globally, 1.5 percent of farmland is organic. However, many countries have far higher shares. The countries with the largest organic share of their total farmland are Liechtenstein (41.0 percent), Austria (26.1 percent) and São Tomé and Príncipe (24.9 percent). Some states in India are or aspire to be 100 % organic in the coming years. In sixteen countries, 10 percent or more of all

agricultural land is organic.


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