Organic farming by country
Organic farming is practised around the globe, but the markets for sale are strongest in North America and Europe, while the greatest dedicated area is accounted for by Australia, the greatest number of producers are in India, and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) record the highest share of agricultural land dedicated to organic production.
Organic farming by continent
The following information is taken from the 2009 edition of the yearbook "The World of Organic Agriculture", published by the International Federation of Organic Movements IFOAM, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and the International Trade Centre ITC. More information is available at the Organic World homepage www.organic-world.net.
According to the latest survey on organic agriculture, carried out by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM, organic agriculture is developing rapidly, and statistical information is now available from 141 countries of the world. Its share of agricultural land and farms continues to grow in many countries. The main results of the global survey on certified organic farming show that 32.2 million hectares of agricultural land are managed organically by more than 1.2 million producers, including smallholders (2007). In addition to the agricultural land, there are 0.4 million hectares of certified organic aquaculture. Global demand for organic products remains robust, with sales increasing by over five billion US Dollars a year. Organic Monitor estimates international sales to have reached 46.1 billion US Dollars in 2007 (WorldStats2009,FiBL, IFOAM, ITC 2009).
In Africa, there are almost 900’000 hectares of certified organic agricultural land (end 2007). This constitutes about three percent of the world’s organic agricultural land. The countries with the most organic land are Ethiopia (840’308 hectares), Uganda (296'203), and Tunisia (154'793 Hectares), . The highest shares of organic land are in São Tomé and Príncipe (5 percent), Uganda (2.3 percent) and Tunisia (1.6 percent). The majority of certified organic produce is destined for export markets, with the large majority being exported to the European Union, which is Africa’s largest market for agricultural produce. The African market for organic products is still small. Three countries have an organic regulation and seven are in the process of drafting one. the first African Organic Conference was held in Kampala, Uganda, from May 19–22, 2009. (FiBL, IFOAM, ITC 2009).
The total organic area in Asia is nearly 2.9 million hectares. This constitutes nine percent of the world’s organic agricultural land. 230’000 producers were reported. The leading countries are China (1.6 million hectares) and India (1 million hectares). The highest shares of organic land of all agricultural land are in Timor Leste (seven percent). Organic wild collection areas play a major role in India and China. Production of final processed products is growing, although a majority of production is still fresh produce and field crops with low value-added processing, such as dry or processed raw ingredients. Aquaculture (shrimp and fish) on the other hand, is emerging in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar. Textiles is another important trend. Sector growth is now also driven by imports, and local markets have taken off in many of the big cities in the South and Eastern part of region besides Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Jakarta, Delhi, Bangalore and other cities are increasing internal consumption of organic products. Nine organic regulations are in place. In seven countries work on national standards and regulations is in progress.(FiBL, IFOAM, ITC 2009).
As of the end of 2007, 7.8 million hectares in Europe were managed organically by more than 200,000 farms. In the European Union, 7.2 million hectares were under organic management, with more than 180,000 organic farms. 1.9 percent of the European agricultural area and four percent of the agricultural area in the European Union is organic. Twenty-four percent of the world's organic land is in Europe. The countries with the largest organic area are Italy (1,150,253 hectares), Spain (988,323 hectares) and Germany (865,336 hectares). The highest percentages are in Liechtenstein (29 percent), Austria (13 percent) and Switzerland (11 percent). Compared to 2006, organic land increased by more than 0.3 million hectares. Sales of organic products were approximately 16 billion Euros in 2007. The largest market for organic products in 2007 was Germany with a turnover of 5.3 billion Euros (2008: 5.8 billion Euros), followed by the UK (2.6 billion Euros), France and Italy (both 1.9 billion Euros). As a portion of the total market share, the highest levels have been reached in Austria, Denmark and Switzerland, with around five percent for organic products. The highest per capita spending is also in these countries. In 2012 the total market share for organic products reached 7.8 percent in Denmark, the highest market share in the world.
Support for organic farming in the European Union and the neighboring countries includes grants under rural development programs, legal protection and a European as well as national action plans. One of the key instruments of the European Action Plan on organic food and farming, an information campaign, was launched during 2008, with the aim of increasing awareness of organic farming throughout the European Union. Furthermore, most EU member states have national action plans. In order to boost organic farming research, a technology platform joining the efforts of industry and civil society in defining organic research priorities and defending them vis-à-vis the policy-makers was launched in December 2008. The platform’s vision paper reveals the potential of organic food production to mitigate some of the major global problems from climate change and food security, to the whole range of socio-economic challenges in the rural areas.(FiBL, IFOAM, ITC 2009).
In North America, almost 2.2 million hectares are managed organically, representing approximately a 0.6 percent share of the total agricultural area. There are is 12,064 organic farms. The major part of the organic land is in the US (1.6 million hectares in 2005). Seven percent of the world’s organic agricultural land is in North America. Valued at more than 20 billion US Dollars in 2007 (Organic Monitor), the North American market accounted for 45 percent of global revenues. Growing consumer demand for healthy & nutritious foods and increasing distribution in conventional grocery channels are the major drivers of market growth. The U.S. organic industry grew 21 percent in sales in 2006, and was forecast to experience 18 percent sales growth each year on average from 2007 through 2010. Whether this rate will actually be realized is uncertain due to the economic downturn and reduction in consumer spending in the last quarter of 2008. Likewise, a downturn is expected in Canada, even though the market growth in Canada, paired with the introduction of the new organic regulations, should provide a good outlook over the coming years. In the United States, the National Organic Program has been in force since 2002. Canada has had a strong organic standard since 1999; this had been, however, voluntary and not supported by regulation. Canada’s Organic Product Regulation will be fully implemented on June 30, 2009. Canadian labeling requirements will be very similar to those of the US and the EU. In 2008, the new Farm Bill was passed by the US Congress. Increasing expenditures on organic agriculture and programs to approximately 112 million US Dollars1 over the course of its five-year life, the 2008 Farm Bill provides a fivefold increase for the organic sector compared with federal funding in the previous bill.(FiBL, IFOAM, ITC 2009).
Latin America and the Caribbean
In Latin America, 220’000 producers managed 6.4 million hectares of agricultural land organically in 2007. This constitutes 20 percent of the world’s organic land. The leading countries are Argentina (2'777'959 hectares), Brazil (1'765'793 hectares) and Uruguay(930'965 hectares). The highest shares of organic agricultural land are in the Dominican Republic and Uruguay with more than six percent and in Mexico and Argentina with more than two percent. Most organic production in Latin America is for export. Important crops are tropical fruits, grains and cereals, coffee and cocoa, sugar and meats. Most organic food sales in the domestic markets of the countries occur in major cities such as Buenos Aires, Mexico City and São Paulo.
Fifteen countries have legislation on organic farming, and four additional countries are currently developing organic regulations. Costa Rica and Argentina have both attained third country status according to the EU regulation on organic farming.
In recognition of the growing importance of the organic sector to Latin America’s agricultural economy, governmental institutions have begun to take steps towards increasing involvement; governments are beginning to play a central role in the promotion of organic agriculture. The types of support in Latin American countries range from organic agriculture promotion programs to market access support by export agencies. In a few countries, limited financial support is being given to pay certification cost during the conversion period.
An important process underway in many Latin America countries is the establishment of regulations and standards for the organic sector (FiBL, IFOAM, ITC 2009).
This region includes Australia, New Zealand, and island states like Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu. Altogether, there are 7'222 producers, managing almost 12.1 million hectares. This constitutes 2.6 percent of the agricultural land in the area and 38 percent of the world’s organic land. Ninety-nine percent of the organically managed land in the region is in Australia (12 million hectares, 97 percent extensive grazing land), followed by New Zealand (65’000 hectares) and Vanuatu (8'996 hectares). The highest shares of all agricultural land are in Vanuatu (6.1 percent), Samoa (5.5 percent) and the Solomon Islands (3.1 percent). Growth in the organic industry in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands has been strongly influenced by rapidly growing overseas demand; domestic markets are, however, growing. In New Zealand, a key issue is lack of production to meet growing demand.
Australia has had national standards for organic and biodynamic products in place since 1992, and like New Zealand, it is on the third country list of the European Union. It is expected that the Australian Standard, based on the National Standard employed since the early 1990s for the export market, will be adopted in 2009. In New Zealand, a National Organic Standard was launched in 2003. There is little government support to encourage organic agriculture in Australia. However, over the recent past, governments have been supportive of the Australian Standards issue. Furthermore, funding is made available to promote an understanding among consumers. In New Zealand, through the establishment of the sector umbrella organization Organics Aotearoa New Zealand and the Organic Advisory Programme as well as other initiatives, there is political recognition of the benefits of organic agriculture.
In the Pacific Islands work on a regional strategy and national plans to lay the foundation of sustainable organic agriculture development in the region is in progress. The Regional Organic Task Force, a technical group representing all sectors and countries involved in organics, was charged with developing the Pacific Standard and will be responsible for implementing the Regional Action Plan. Pacific High Level Organics Group consists of Pacific leaders who have shown a commitment to the development of organic agriculture in the region and provide high level political support and advocacy. The first Pacific Organic Standard was endorsed by Pacific Leaders in September 2008. This provides a platform for further regional policy development around organic agriculture. (FiBL, IFOAM, ITC 2009).
- Paull, John (2011). Organics Olympiad 2011: Global Indices of Leadership in Organic Agriculture/ "Organics Olympiad 2011: Global Indices of Leadership in Organic Agriculture" (PDF). Journal of Social and Development Sciences 1 (4): 144–150.
- Bent Højgaard Sørensen (25 December 2013). "Danmark er verdens førende i økologi [Denmark is world leading in Ecology]". Berlingske Business (in Danish). Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Lotter, D. (2003) Organic Agriculture. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 21(4)
- Willer, Helga and Kilcher Lukas, Eds. (2009) The World of Organic Agriculture - Statistics and Emerging Trends 2009. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements(IFOAM), DE-Bonn, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, FiBL, CH-Frick and International Trade Centre ITC, Geneva. See full table of contents
- Organic World
- Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL
- International Trade Centre, Organic Farming
- International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM
- Organic Monitor, London
- A World Map of Organic Agriculture
- Organics Olympiad 2011: Global Indices of Leadership in Organic Agriculture
- The Uptake of Organic Agriculture: A Decade of Worldwide Development