News: Global Report on Organic Agriculture


The Organic Monitor supplied the data on the estimated value of the global organic market in 2010. It was worth 59.1 billion US dollars or 44.5 billion euros. There was an 8% growth over the 2009 figures of 54.1 billion US dollars. In 1999 it was worth 15.2 billion US dollars.

The United States of America was valued at US $26.7 billion or 20.2 billion euros.

The largest growth of organic agricultural land was in Europe, where the area increased by 0.8 million hectares to 10 million hectares which is a 9 % increase from 2009. The countries with the greatest increases were:

  • France: +168,000 hectares (+24 %)
  • Poland: +155,000 hectares (+42 %)
  • Spain: +126,000 hectares (+9 %)

The organic arable and permanent crop area increased worldwide by approximately 6 %. Those crops are of particular relevance for the organic market. For arable crops, cereals are the most important crop group (2.5 million hectares). Oilseeds cover 0.5 million hectares, and protein crops and vegetables 0.3 million hectares each. The key permanent crops (almost 3 million hectares) in terms of land under organic management are coffee (0.7 million hectares), olives (0.5 million hectares) and cocoa (0.3 million hectares).

One third of the global organic agricultural land is in Oceania (33 %), followed by Europe (27 %) and Latin America (23 %).

Australia is still the country with the largest area of organic agricultural land (12 million hectares), followed by Argentina (4.2 million hectares) and the USA (1.9 million hectares).

The countries with the largest percentage of organic agricultural land are the Falkland Islands (36 %), followed by Liechtenstein (27 %) and Austria (20 %).

Globally 1.6 million producers are certified as organic, and approximately 80 % of these are in developing countries. The countries with the most producers are India, Uganda, Mexico and Ethiopia.

There were decreases both the number of farmers and hectares farmed in India and China and this was attributed to growers dropping out of certification due to the compliance costs. The high cost of 3rd party certification for small holders is currently being addressed by IFOAM through the development of PGS systems, where small holders can organise themselves into peer reviewed growing and marketing groups. This will ensure a rise in producers in developing countries in the future.

The rise in the number producers, hectares and market value in both Europe and the USA show that as the market grows more consumers become aware of the issues surrounding organic food. This is one of the factors leading to the increase growth in the more mature organic markets. Increased government support is another significant factor.

According to FiBL "these figures show that in countries where organic agriculture is institutionally well embedded, there is a constant growth of the market and of the area under organic management. This is impressively shown in the case of Europe, where many countries provide a wide range of support measures like direct payments, advisory services, relevant research and marketing measures. In countries where organic agriculture is not yet fully integrated into national agricultural policies, and farmers receive less support through advice and research, the ups and downs of the organic area can be substantial."

Further information is available here

Published date: 29 Feb 2012