13.02.2020 |

Global organic crop area continues to grow, report

Organic food is grown on 1.5% of the world's farmland (Photo: CC0)

Organic farming is on the rise across the globe. A total of 71.5 million hectares were farmed organically at the end of 2018, representing a growth of 2 million hectares or almost 3% compared to the previous year. These are the latest figures of “The World of Organic Agriculture” published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM – Organics International. The report collects data on 186 countries with organic farming activities. Australia has the largest area farmed organically with 35.7 million hectares, followed by Argentina with 3.6 million hectares and China with 3.1 million hectares. Due to the large organic area in Australia, almost half of the global organic agricultural land (36 million hectares) is in Oceania, followed by Europe with 22% or 15.6 million hectares and Latin America with a share of 11% or 8 million hectares.

Currently, only 1.5% of the world’s agricultural land is farmed organically, but many countries have far higher shares. The three countries with the largest share of organic land are Liechtenstein (38.5%), Samoa (34.5%) and Austria (24.7%). In sixteen countries, 10% or more of all agricultural land was under organic management in 2018. This top 16 countries include the European countries Estonia, Sweden, Italy, Latvia, Switzerland, Finland and Slovakia. According to the report, there were 2.8 million organic farmers in 2018. Around 47% of the world’s organic producers live in Asia, followed by Africa (28%) and Europe (15%). As in previous years, the country with most organic producers was India (1,149,000), followed by Uganda (210,000) and Ethiopia (204,000).

Consumer demand for organic products is also increasing across the globe. Global retail sales of organic food and drink surpassed 100 billion US dollars for the first time in 2018, up from 97 billion US dollars in 2017. The countries with the largest organic markets were the United States with 40.6 billion euros, followed by Germany (10.9 billion euros) and France (9.1 billion euros). The highest growth rate was achieved in France, where the organic market grew by more than 15%, whereas the highest market share of organic products was found in Denmark with 11.5% of the total food market. According to FiBL and IFOAM, the publication not only shows that 2018 was another record year for global organic agriculture. It also highlights the contribution of organic agriculture to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “Given that organic agriculture touches on almost all of the goals, this book (...) also highlights the contribution of organic agriculture to tackling climate change, ensuring food and nutrition security, halting biodiversity loss, and promoting sustainable consumption, to name a few,” Professor Urs Niggli, Director of FiBL, and IFOAM Executive Director Louise Luttikholt wrote in the foreword to the report. (ab)

Back to news list


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