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  • Writer's pictureBiO ReporterIn

Global organic market to grow faster than ever in 2020

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and the world umbrella organisation of organic agriculture IFOAM - Organics International presented the latest figures on organic agriculture worldwide in the online event at BIOFACH on 15 February 2022. The collection of international organic statistics is always delayed by one year, so these are figures for 2020, which are published in the yearbook "The World of Organic Agriculture". The yearbook is published jointly by FiBL and IFOAM - Organics International. As the data from 190 countries now show, demand for organic products increased particularly strongly in the first pandemic year, and the organic area also continued to grow - the positive trend of previous years continued. Watch the video with selected presentations and statements of Diana Schaak, Market Analyst, Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft, AMI, Tina Andres, Chairwoman of the Board, BÖLW (German Association of Organic Food Industry), Louise Luttikholt, IFOAM Organics International, Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM Organics Europe, and Amarjit Sahota, Ecovia Intelligence.

Renewed growth in organic agricultural area

Almost 75 million hectares of agricultural land (1.6 %) were farmed organically worldwide at the end of 2020 (left column in the graph). This was 4.1% or almost three million hectares more than in 2019. Australia remained the country with the largest organic area (35.7 million hectares), followed by Argentina (4.5 million hectares) and Uruguay (2.7 million hectares). Organic farmland has increased in all continents. In Europe 17.1 million hectares and Latin America 9.9 million hectares were organic. In 18 countries, the share of organic land is at least 10%, several of which are in the EU, but only Austria already meets the EU's target of 25% by 2030.

The number of organic producers also increased significantly from 2019 to 2020, by 7.6%, and is estimated at around 3.4 million. The country with the most organic producers was India (1.6 million).

Record sales in organic markets worldwide

With an increase of €14 billion compared to 2019, the global organic market experienced its highest growth ever due to the pandemic. The total market reached over €120 billion by 2020. Traditionally, the largest markets include the United States (€49.5 billion), followed by Germany (€15 billion) and France (€12.7 billion). Many important markets recorded double-digit growth, the record being held by the German organic market with more than 22 %. In terms of per capita consumption, the Swiss were ahead in 2020 with €418 per capita. Denmark had the highest organic market share (13%).

Helga Willer, who is responsible for publishing the statistical yearbook at FiBL, explained that COVID-19 led to a significant increase in demand for organic products in many countries in 2020: "The impact of the pandemic can be seen in the retail data. As people were eating more at home and health, environment and climate change became important issues, organic sales at retail increased rapidly. At the same time, however, food service sales declined in many countries," she said.

The complete review of the event find at

25% organic in Europe - ambitious but feasible

Eduardo Cuoco, Director of IFOAM Organics Europe, took an analytical look at statistics and the situation in Europe. The increase in organic cultivation area in the EU is encouraging - it grew to 14.9 million ha - even if it has slowed down. On the other hand, he said, the record growth of 15.1% to €44.8 billion compared to 2019 was remarkable.

However, he added: "The growth of organic farming in the EU has been impressive up to 2020, but it is fragile as it depends partly on public support, and the current negotiations on CAP strategic plans would bring many uncertainties. The development in France, which currently holds the EU Presidency, is remarkable: "It now has the largest organic area in the EU (2.5 million ha), but the government's plans to stop CAP payments, which reward organic farmers for the public services they provide, could stall the growth of recent years," Cuoco said.

The amount of land growth needed to reach the EU's target of 40.5 million ha (25%) by 2030 is shown in the graph. The stakeholders in the organic sector consider the achievement of the target to be ambitious but achievable, even though more than half of the organic cultivation area in the EU and the market volume are concentrated in four countries: France (2.5 million ha/ €12.7 billion), Spain (2.4 million ha), Italy (2.1 million/ €3.9 billion.) ha) and Germany (1.7 mio.ha/ 15 bn €). Most organic producers are in Italy (71,590), followed by France (53,255) and Spain (44,493).

In any case, for the European organic movement, further improvement of data collection is crucial to increase organic production and consumption and to achieve the goals of the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, Cuoco said. The Regulation on Statistics on Agricultural Inputs and Outputs (SAIO), which is currently being negotiated between co-legislators, offers the possibility to collect more data on organic farming, which will allow a better understanding of organic farming performance, he said. Reliable and comprehensive data on organic production could encourage investors to enter the organic supply chain and speed up conversion and market access, he said.

All graphs and photos are screenshots from the online presentation. All statistics are available at

Karin Heinze, BiO Reporter International


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