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» News » Organic agriculture hits new record high with 72.3 million hectares worldwide

Organic agriculture hits new record high with 72.3 million hectares worldwide

The amount of organic land and sales of organic produce continue to climb and have hit a new record high, according to the report “The world of organic agriculture. Statistics & emerging trends 2021”,  published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBLand IFOAM – Organics International.  

In 2019, there were 72.3 million hectares under organic farming, 1.6% more than in 2018. The regions with the most organic land were Oceania with 35.9 million hectares, representing half of the total, and Europe with 16.5 million hectares, 23% of the total.

They were followed by Latin America with 8.3 million hectares (11%), Asia with 5.9 million hectares (8%), North America with 3.6 million hectares (5%), and Africa with 2 million hectares (3%).

Organic agriculture is growing, and India and Kazakhstan are investing heavily in it

In 2019, the amount of organically farmed land increased by 1.1 million hectares, up 1.6%. This growth reflects a general increase in all regions, especially Europe, which increased the amount of organic land by +0.9 million hectares (+5.9%) and North America which added 0.3 million hectares to its organic total (+9.1%).

Conversely, Asia saw a decrease in the number of hectares under organic cultivation (-7.1%), mainly affected by decreases in China and Oceania (-0.3%).

If we take a closer look by countries, many of them reported a significant rise in the number of hectares under organic farming. This was particularly significant in India and Kazakhstan, which saw increases of 0.36 million hectares and 0.1 million hectares, respectively, i.e. +18.6%.

 

Main organic crops

In the case of arable crops, cereals accounted for the largest area under organic farming (5.07 million ha), followed by pasture (3.2 million ha) and oilseeds (1.7 million ha). Organic cereals and oilseeds grew dramatically in 2019, registering increases of +309,738 ha and +182,561 ha, respectively, contrasting with a drop in the number of hectares for pasture.

In the case of permanent crops, olive groves (0.9 million ha), coffee plantations (0.7 million ha) and nut crops (0.6 million ha) accounted for the largest number of hectares used for organic farming. Although there was good growth in olive groves (+22,566 ha), the increases in temperate climate fruit (+72,218 ha), grapes (+45,012 ha) and cocoa (+42,223 ha) were especially strong.

 

A global market of over €106 billion

According to FiBL data, the consumption of organic agricultural produce exceeded €106 billion in 2019. The main organic markets were the United States (€44.7 billion), followed by the European Union (€41.4 billion) and China (€8.5 billion).

The market grew in 2019 in all countries in which data was available, with double-digit increases in some cases. Organic consumption in France recorded the strongest growth with demand going up by 13.4%.

Europe recorded the highest per capita consumption of organic products, with Denmark leading the way (€344), followed by Switzerland (€338), Luxembourg (€265) and Austria (€216).

 

Organic agriculture, a thriving market that drives R&D

In line with growing consumer demand for organic produce, the number of organic farmers and hectares is increasing. What was once a niche market has become mainstream and this is driving R&D to develop solutions that encourage environmentally friendly production without compromising productivity and crop quality.

In a recent interview with Agropages, Cathal Daynes, Tradecorp’s Global Technical Manager, explained the company’s approach to organic farming: “Tradecorp’s philosophy is that growers who follow organic and sustainable farming programmes must have access to premium quality, highly efficient products.”

Accordingly, Tradecorp offers a broad portfolio with over 50 organic agriculture solutions, approved under different standards, such as EU, NOP and JAS, and recognised by reputable international certification bodies, such as Ecocert, OMRI and FIBL, as well as national agencies.