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Media release February 14, 2006

The World of Organic Agriculture: More Than 31 Million Hectares Worldwide

IFOAM, FiBL and SOEL present new facts and figures about organic farming at BioFach 2006

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), and the Foundation Ecology & Farming (SOEL), Germany, will present the latest global data on organic farming at the BioFach fair 2006 in Nuremberg, the world leading fair for organic food. Conducted with the support of the fair organizers NuernbergMesse, the statistics will be presented on Friday February 17th at 10:00 in Room St. Petersburg.

According to the survey, currently more than 31 million hectares of farmland are under organic management worldwide, a gain of around five million hectares in a single year. A major increase of organic land has taken place in China, where nearly three million hectares of pastoral land were recently certified.

Herta Krausmann, Managing Director of Nürnberg Global Fairs, highlights the importance of the growing numbers in China, stating “in recognition of the significant growth in organic production in China, the BioFach China project, a two-year public-private partnership between Nürnberg Global Fairs and the German Development and Investment Society (DEG), will take place for the first time at the end of November 2006 in Shanghai in an effort to spur this growth and development even further.”

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 %). Regarding the share of organic farmland in comparison with the total agricultural area, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries lead the way. In Switzerland, for example, more than ten percent of the agricultural land is managed organically. The editors of the study Minou Yussefi (SOEL) and Helga Willer (FiBL) note that “the continued increase in the organic land area over the last years is not just due to the ever greater interest in organic farming, but also a result of 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 being marketed in Europe and North America. Ongoing growth of the market and organic land area is expected for the foreseeable future, in part due to an increased support of governments and development organizations. Angela B. Caudle, IFOAM Executive Director, emphasizes “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, the benefits of organic agricultural systems on a large scale will become increasingly evident.”

This global study about organic farming will be presented for the 8th time at BioFach. For the first time “The World of Organic Agriculture” includes not only information on total organic area but also on land use and on major crops, and features an updated chapter on the market situation and emerging trends for all continents, provided by renowned experts in the organic sector. 

Futher information


Dr. Helga Willer, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL FiBL, Ackerstr., CH-5070 Frick, Tel. +41 (0)79 2180626, Fax +41 (0)62 865-7273

Minou Yussefi, Foundation Ecology & Agriculture (SOEL), Weinstr. Sued 51, D-67098 Bad Duerkheim, Tel +49 6322 98970-0, Fax +49 6322 98970-1

Neil Sorensen, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 5, D-53113 Bonn

NuernbergMesse, BioFach, Messezentrum Nuernberg, D – 90471 Nuernberg, Tel: +49 911 8606-0, Fax:+49 911 8606-8228

Order and Download

Published in English, the study can be ordered at a cost of 16 Euros (+postage) through IFOAM or FiBL (see addresses above).

The Study in the FiBL-Shop (Order of printedt version or download with cost)

Free download of chapter 5 ("Organic Farming Worldwide 2006: Overview & Main Statistics" summarizing the main results and the global organic statistics) in the Database Organic Eprints 

Graphics and Pictures

Graphics and pictures are available via www.soel.de/oekolandbau/weltweit.html.    

The study

The World of Organic Agriculture 2006 - Statistics and Emerging Trends.8th revised edition, February 2006, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn, Germany. 186 Seiten, 16,00 EUR, Download 10,60 Euro, ISBN 3-934055-61-3

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