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Organic land management spreads around the globe

Page history last edited by Rosemary 13 years, 7 months ago

Organic land management is expanding rapidly around the world; the market for organic produce reaches $27.8 billion

More than 31 million hectares of farmland are now being managed organically around the world - a gain of around five million hectares in a single year, according to a study released in February 2006 by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), and the Foundation Ecology & Farming (SOEL) in Germany. Nearly three million hectares of pastoral land were recently certified as organic in China.

In terms of organic land, excluding wild collection, Australia leads pack 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%).

Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries have the highest percentage of organic farmland as part of the total agricultural areas. In Switzerland, for example, more than 10% of agricultural land is managed organically. The study’s editors, Minou Yussefi (SOEL) and Helga Willer (FiBL), say continued growth in organic land is due both to growing interest in organic farming and improved access to information and data collection each time the study is updated.

In 2004, the market value of organic products worldwide reached $27.8 billion US (23.5 billion EUR). The largest share of organic products is marketed in Europe and North America. Ongoing growth of the market and organic land area is expected for the foreseeable future, in part due increased support by governments and development organizations.

“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," says IFOAM Executive Director Angela Caudle, "the benefits of organic agricultural systems on a large scale will become increasingly evident.”

The study is entitled The World of Organic Agriculture 2006 - Statistics and Emerging Trends, 8th revised edition, February 2006, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn, Germany. Chapter 5 of the study “Organic Farming Worldwide 2006: Overview & Main Statistics” summarizing the main results and the global organic statistics can be downloaded free of charge. IFOAM represents 750 organisations in more than 100 countries, 40% of them from developing countries. One of its programs focuses on development of organic agriculture in developing countries.


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