The latest global data on organic farming shows that more than 31 million hectares of farmland are under organic management worldwide, a gain of around five million hectares in a single year. A major increase of organic land has taken place in China, where nearly three million hectares of pastoral land were recently certified.
In terms of organic land, excluding wild collection, Australia leads with 12.1 million hectares, followed by China (3.5 million hectares) and Argentina (2.8 million hectares). Most of the world’s organic land is in Australia / Oceania (39%), followed by Europe (21%), Latin America (20%), Asia (13%), North America (4%) and Africa (3%).
Regarding the share of organic farmland in comparison with the total agricultural area, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries lead the way. In Switzerland, for example, more than 10% of the agricultural land is managed organically. The editors of the study note that “the continued increase in the organic land area over the last years is not just due to the ever greater interest in organic farming, but also a result of improved access to information and data collection each time the study is updated.”
In 2004, the market value of organic products worldwide reached US$27.8 billion (23.5 billion EUR), the largest share of organic products being marketed in Europe and North America. Continued growth is expected for the foreseeable future, in part due to increased support by governments and development organizations.
Angela B. Caudle, IFOAM Executive Director, emphasizes “As markets for organic products continue to develop throughout the world, including in key markets outside of Europe and North America, such as Brazil and the Middle East, the benefits of organic agricultural systems on a large scale will become increasingly evident.”
The data was announced at Biofach, the largest organic fair worldwide. Herta Krausmann, Managing Director of Nurnberg Global Fairs, said, “In recognition of the significant growth in organic production in China, the BioFach China project, a two-year public-private partnership between Nurnberg Global Fairs and the German Development and Investment Society , will take place for the first time at the end of November 2006 in Shanghai in an effort to spur this growth and development even further.”
The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics and Emerging Trends 2006: includes information on total organic land area and also on land use and major crops. It features an updated chapter on the market situation and emerging trends for all continents, provided by renowned experts in the organic sector. www.ifoam.org Sustainable Business.com