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The World of Organic Agriculture 2013

The 2013 edition of The World of Organic Agriculture.

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Media release February 12, 2013

New impulses for continued growth: FiBL and IFOAM present latest statistics on organic farming worldwide at BioFach

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) present latest statistics on organic farming worldwide at BioFach on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2 pm, Room St. Petersburg. Sales now top 60 billion US dollars for the first t time.

(Frick/Bonn/Nuremberg, February 12, 2013) 1.8 million farmers in 162 countries grow organically on more than 37 million hectares of agricultural land worldwide (2011). The global market for organic food reaches 62.9 billion US dollars, which is 4 billion more than reported for 2010. IFOAM  and FiBL  initiatives lay the foundation for further growth: The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS), the Best Practice Reference consultation (SOAAN) and the global organic science platform (TIPI).

"200.000 new organic farmers, this is good news for the environment and for the social and economic development of rural areas", says IFOAM president and Australian organic farmer Andre Leu. In fact, the results of the latest annual global survey on organic agriculture conducted by FiBL and IFOAM show evidence of continued growth. Past investments have clearly paid off and three new initiatives are now paving the way for investments in future growth and expansion:

Organic is spearheading sustainability standards at UNFSS: The UN launches a new initiative: The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) creates economic and social development opportunities. Both IFOAM and FiBL are contributing to the experiences made in the organic world that are accumulated in the Global Organic Market Access project. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has confirmed its support for the future UNFSS cluster on harmonization and equivalence. The increased recognition of the IFOAM Family of Standards and the recent equivalence agreements between the US and EU or Canada and Switzerland are important steps, which have attracted the UN’s attention and will drive further development in the organic industry.

Best Practice Reference in consultation: Following a year of intensive visioning, discussing and internal drafting, the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN) - launched at BioFach 2012 – presents a Best Practice Reference for Agriculture and its value chain. It defines and details, for the first time ever in the history of organic agriculture, how agriculture will look in practice once we achieve the objective of sustainable agriculture.

TIPI, The Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM: This year sees BioFach host its first science event to which FiBL and IFOAM have invited scientists from all over the world. More than 100 professionals debate the vision for organic agricultural research and launch the first global science network as part of the Global Organic Movement. Andre Leu emphasizes, "given the current debates on agriculture, it is critical to the future of organic systems that these are both science and evidence based. The establishment of this platform is a key step in closing the gap the industry currently has here”.

Global Statistics 2013: The market, the producers, and the area

The market research company Organic Monitor estimated the global market for organic products in 2011 at almost 63 billion US dollars (up from 59 billion US dollars) or more than 45 billion euros. The leading market is the United States with 21 billion euros. In Europe, where 21.5 billion euros were spent, Germany leads at 6.6 billion euros, followed by France (3.8 billion euros). The countries with the highest annual per capita spending were Switzerland and Denmark with more than 160 euros. 

Moving from consumers to producers, approximately 80 percent of a global total of 1.8 million farms (up from 1.6 million) that practice organic methods are located in developing countries. As in previous years, the countries with the most producers are India (547’591), Uganda (188’625), Mexico (169’570) and Tanzania (145’430).

From a farmland perspective, a total of 37.2 million hectares were organic at the end of 2011. The largest growth of organic agricultural land was in Asia, where an increase of 0.9 million hectares was noted. This brings the figure for organic farmland to 3.7 million hectares (+34 percent year on year growth). In Europe, organic farmland increased by 0.6 million hectares (+6 percent); 10.6 million hectares are now organic. The countries with the highest growth rates were: China (+510’000 hectares), India (+304’266 hectares) and Spain (+165’226 hectares).

One third of all global organic agricultural land is in Oceania (33 percent), followed by Europe (29 percent), and Latin America (18 percent). Australia is the country with the largest organic agricultural area (12 million hectares, with 97 percent of that area used as grazing), followed by Argentina (3.8 million hectares) and the United States of America (1.9 million hectares). The countries with the largest share of organic agricultural land of all farmland are the Falkland Islands (36 percent), followed by Liechtenstein (29 percent) and Austria (20 percent). In ten countries more than ten percent of the agricultural land is organic.

These figures show that in countries where organic agriculture is institutionally well embedded, there is constant market growth and expansion of the area under organic management. This is impressively shown in the case of Europe, where many countries provide a wide range of support measures such as direct payments, advisory services, relevant research and marketing measures. This underpins the importance of National Action Plan development, as promoted by FiBL and IFOAM.


The data on organic agriculture worldwide are being presented for the fourteenth consecutive year at BioFach. The book “The World of Organic Agriculture Worldwide” contains reports, authored by long-standing experts, on the organic sector and emerging trends in all regions and selected countries. The statistics are supported with graphs and tables. In addition, background information on issues such as standards and legislation is provided. Further information is available at www.organic-world.net. Support for this work is granted by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and by NürnbergMesse.


Further information


  • Dr. Helga Willer, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Ackerstrasse, 5070 Frick, Switzerland
  • International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Markus Arbenz,  Charles-de-Gaulle-Strasse 5, 53113 Bonn, Germany, Tel. +49 (0)160 8041557, Fax +49 (0)228 9265099, m.arbenz(at)ifoam.org; www.ifoam.org


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