The total organic area in the European Union (EU) was 13.8 million hectares in 2019, corresponding to 8.5% of the total utilised agricultural area, according to new data gathered by Eurostat. This represents an increase of 46% between 2012 and 2019.
But there was only a small increase (0.5%) over the 2018 figure. This suggests that the target of making 25% of EU farm land organic by 2030, announced earlier this year as part of the bloc’s Farm to Fork strategy, is looking ever more challenging.
Among the EU Member States, the countries with the largest shares of organic area in 2019 were Austria (25.3% of the total utilised agricultural area), Estonia (22.3%) and Sweden (20.4%), followed by Czechia and Italy (both 15.2%), Latvia (14.8%) and Finland (13.5%).
All the remaining EU Member States had an organic farming area share at 11% or lower, with the smallest proportions observed in the Netherlands (3.7%), Poland (3.5%), Romania (2.9%), Bulgaria (2.3%), Ireland (1.6%) and Malta (0.5%). The UK, as of this month outside the EU, comes in at 2.6%.
The new survey showed that Sweden had the largest shares of organic production of cereals and fresh vegetables in 2019. Latvia had the largest share of organic population of ‘sheep and goats’ (36.2 % of Latvia’s total sheep and goat population was organic) and the second highest share of organic bovines population (25.1 %). The highest share of organic bovine animals was reported in Greece (26.9 %).
The survey confirms earlier research showing that organic farm managers tend to be younger. The share of farm managers under 40 years of age was twice as large for organic farms (21 %) as for non-organic farms (10.5 %).
Main image: Eurostat