Europe: organic agriculture continues to increase (IT)


According to the data presented by FIBL and AMI-the Agricultural Market Information Company at BioFach in Nuremberg, in Europe 13.5 million hectares of farmland were cultivated in 2016 with the organic farming method (European Union: 12.1 million hectares). With more than 2 million hectares, Spain continues to be the country with the largest organic area, followed by Italy (1.8 million hectares) and France (1.5 million hectares). As a overall, the organic land increased by almost one million hectares, + 6.7 percent in Europe and +8.2 percent in the European Union. Growth was higher than in 2015 and substantially higher than in the first years of the current decade. In 2016, Italy reported over 300’000 hectares more than in 2015, and France reported over 200’000 hectares more. Organic farmland in Europe constitutes 2.7 percent of the total agricultural land and 6.7 percent in the European Union.

The country with the highest organic share of the total farmland in the world is Liechtenstein (37.7 percent), followed by Austria, the country in the European Union with the highest organic share of agricultural land (21.9 percent). Nine European countries reported that at least 10 percent of their farmland is organic.

Also organic producers are on the rise: there were more than 370‘000 organic producers in Europe (European Union: almost 300'000), and the largest numbers were in Turkey (almost 68'000) and Italy (more than 64'000). The number of producers grew by 7 percent in Europe (10 percent in the European Union) in 2016.

As the rest of the sector, processors and importers as well recorded a strong growth: there were almost 66’000 processors in Europe and almost 63’000 in the European Union, while importers grew up to 4’700 in Europe (out of which almost 4‘000 in the European Union). Particularly strong growth was noted for importers, which increased by double digits in both Europe and the European Union. The country with the largest number of processors was Italy (almost 17‘000), while Germany had the largest number of  importers (almost 1'600).

Concerning sales, retail sales in Europe were valued at 33.5 billion euros (30.7 billion euros in the European Union). The European Union represents the second largest single market for organic products in the world after the United States. The European market recorded a growth rate of 11 percent (European Union: 12 percent), which is the second time retail sales have had a double-digit growth rate since the financial crisis. Among the key markets, the highest growth was observed in France (22 percent). In the decade 2007-2016, the value of European and European Union markets has more than doubled.

As a whole, the FIBL-AMI survey showed that European consumers spent more on organic food: in Europe, 41 euros per person (European Union: 61 euros), being the Swiss those spending the most (274 euros per capita). Per capita consumer spending on organic food has doubled in the last decade.

Finally, European countries account at global level for the highest shares of organic food sales as a percentage of their respective food markets. Denmark has the highest organic share (9.7 percent) worldwide. Individual products and product groups hold even higher shares. Organic eggs, for instance, constitute more than 20 percent of the value of all eggs sold in several countries.

The survey on organic farming in Europe was conducted by FiBL and AMI. The FiBL data collection activities were carried out under the framework of the global survey on organic farming supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), NürnbergMesse, and IFOAM – Organics International.

Source: FIBL