Organic farming has grown during the last decade in the EU
According to a report by the European Commission, organic farming in the EU grew to 14.8 million hectares between 2010 and 2020, which represents 9.1% of all agricultural land in the region.
Retail consumption of organic products has increased considerably. With more people being aware of the benefits to the product, producers, and consumers, between 2015 and 2020, retail sales of organic products doubled in the EU.
France and Austria are the countries with the largest area of land under organic farming regarding their total farming land available, followed by Spain, Italy, and Germany.
One of the benefits of organic plant production farms compared to conventional farms is that they spend less on fertilizers and plant protection products, as shown by data from the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network.
Organic farming has a positive impact on the environment, especially for biodiversity, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, eutrophication, nutrient loss, and soil biological quality.
According to the report, "positive effects are also reported for climate-related parameters (such as carbon sequestration) in organic farming systems compared to conventional systems for soil organic matter content, soil organic stocks, and the soil organic carbon sequestration rate."
Organic product sales in the fresh fruit market
Sales of organic fresh produce have increased significantly during the last couple of years. The EU is in second place in sales of organic food worldwide.
Between 2012-21, sales of organic fruit increased by 57% in the region, reaching 9% of the shares of all fresh fruit sales. This figure is expected to decrease due to the loss of purchasing power from consumers.
The EU, through its research and innovation framework program, continues to support research and innovation in the organic farming sector. Research projects involve organic farmers who through their knowledge and entrepreneurial skills can develop solutions and create ’ co-ownership of the results.
“Promoting the exchange of knowledge among farmers, farm advisers, and scientists is a key objective of EU-funded research focusing on organic farming,” the report said.
The multiple benefits of organic foods make it a priority to keep investing and growing the sector in the future to come, not only in the EU but around the world.