Harvesting greens in Uganda, January 2020. Uganda is the African country with the largest number of organic producers, according to the latest data (2018).
Photo: ©FAO/Luis Tato

Organic agriculture continues to grow

The positive trend in organic agriculture seen in the past years is gaining more ground. Over 70 million hectares were organically managed at the end of 2018, a growth of nearly 3 per cent compared to 2017.

2018 was another record year for global organic agriculture, according to the latest data on organic farming worldwide presented by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM – Organics International in mid-February 2020.

According to the latest FiBL survey on organic agriculture worldwide, organic farmland increased by 2.0 million hectares, and organic retail sales also continued to grow, reaching another all-time high, as shown by the data from 186 countries (data as of end 2018).

Global market for organic food passed the 100 billion US dollar mark

The market research company, Ecovia Intelligence, estimates that the global market for organic food surpassed 100 billion US dollars for the first time in 2018 (almost 97 billion euros). The USA is the leading market with 40.6 billion euros, followed by Germany (10.9 billion euros) and France (9.1 billion euros).

In 2018, many major markets continued to show double-digit growth rates, and the French organic market grew by more than 15 per cent. Danish and Swiss consumers spent the most on organic food (312 euros per capita in 2018). Denmark had the highest organic market share with 11.5 percent of its total food market.

In 2018, 2.8 million organic producers were reported. India continues to be the country with the highest number of producers (1 149 000), followed by Uganda (210 000), and Ethiopia (204 000). 

Steady increase of organic farmland

A total of 71.5 million hectares were organically managed at the end of 2018, representing a growth of 2.9 per cent or 2 million hectares compared to 2017. Australia has the largest organic agricultural area (35.7 million hectares), followed by Argentina (3.6 million hectares) and China (3.1 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 (15.6 million hectares), followed by Latin America (8 million hectares). The organic area increased in all continents compared to 2017. 

Globally, 1.5 per cent of farmland is organic. However, many countries have far higher shares, ten per cent or more of the farmland is organic in 16 countries.

The countries with the largest organic share of their total farmland are Liechtenstein (38.5 per cent), Samoa (34.5 per cent), and Austria (24.7 per cent). 

Slower growth in Africa

Africa had more than 2 million hectares of certified organic agricultural land in 2018, representing an increase of 0.2 per cent compared to 2017. Tunisia was the country with the largest organic area.

There were at least 806 000 producers on the continent, and Uganda was the country with the largest number of organic producers (more than 210 000). Sao Tome and Principe had the highest share of organically farmed land– 22.8 per cent of the island state’s agricultural land being organic.

Most African organic products are destined for export markets.


Read more at FiBL website

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