23.02.2018 |

Organic is booming: 57.8 million hectares worldwide farmed organically

The organic market is booming (Photo: CC0)

Organic farming is on the rise across the globe. A total of 57.8 million hectares were farmed organically at the end of 2016, representing a growth of almost 7.5 million hectares or 15% compared to the previous year. These are the latest figures of the statistical yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture” published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM – Organics International. The study collects data on 178 countries reporting organic farming activities. Almost 47% of the global organic agricultural land is in Oceania (27.3 million hectares), followed by Europe with 13.5 million hectares (23%) and Latin America with 7.1 million hectares (12%). Australia has the largest agricultural area farmed organically with 27.2 million hectares, followed by Argentina with 3 million hectares and China with 2.3 million hectares. The three countries with the largest share of organic farmland in the world are Liechtenstein (37.7%), French Polynesia (31.3%) and Samoa (22.4%). In Austria, 21.9% of the farmland is organic and in Estonia and Sweden, the figures are 18.9% and 18% respectively. In fifteen countries, 10% or more of all agricultural land was under organic management in 2016 – a new record.

According to the report, there were 2.7 million organic farmers in 2016. Around 40% of the world’s organic producers live in Asia, followed by Africa (27%) and Latin America (17%). As in previous years, the country with most organic producers was India (835,000), followed by Uganda (210,352) and Mexico (210,000). Consumer demand for organic products is also increasing across the globe. Global retail sales of organic food and drink reached 89.7 billion US dollars in 2016, up from 81.6 billion US dollars in 2015. The countries with the largest organic markets were the United States (38.9 billion euros), followed by Germany (9.5 billion euros), France (6.7 billion euros) and China (5.9 billion euros). The top buyers of organic food worldwide live in Switzerland. Swiss consumers spent 274 euros per person on organic products in 2016, while consumers in Denmark spent 227 euros and people in Sweden 197 euros. Looking at the shares the organic market has of the total market, the winner is Denmark with a share of 9.7%, just ahead of Luxembourg with 8.7%.

According to the publishers of the report, the latest figures are good news since organic farming achieved more area, more producers and a continuously growing global market in 2016. “Growing markets also mean higher added value on millions of farms. And it means 57.8 million hectares of increased soil fertility, farm and field diversity and billions of farm animals raised under animal welfare standards,” the directors of FiBL and IFOAM wrote in the foreword to the report. “This is an important contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations,” they conclude. (ab)

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Donors of globalagriculture Bread for all biovision Bread for the World Misereor Heidehof Stiftung Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz Rapunzel
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