EU organic land area increases
03 March 2010
The total organic land area in the EU27 increased by 7% during 2007-08 to over 7.8 million hectares, according to a new report issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Over a longer time period, data for the EU25 shows an increase of 21% in the total EU organic area between 2005 and 2008. In 2008, the five Member States with the largest organic area in the EU27 were Spain (1.3 million ha), Italy (1.0 million ha), Germany (0.9 million ha), the United Kingdom (0.7 million ha) and France (0.6 million ha).
In 2007, the total organic area accounted for 4.1% of the total utilised agricultural area in the EU27 . The highest proportions of organic area were recorded in Austria (15.7% of the total agricultural area), Sweden (9.9%) and Italy (8.9%). The highest increases in organic area between 2005 and 2008 were in Poland, Lithuania and Spain.
“This significant rise in land managed organically from 2005-2008 is great news,” says Phil Stocker, the director for farmer and grower relations at the Soil Association. “It shows a clear trend in farming practices across the EU, with over 4% of EU agricultural land now registered as organic.
“In the UK, 4.3% of our land is now organically managed. This is a 9% increase on the previous year and follows a growing recognition among the public, producers, and policy makers alike of the benefits that organic farming brings.
“The biodiversity, animal welfare, and social benefits of this organic land expansion are now well understood. However, new research from the Soil Association shows that if all UK farmland was converted to organic farming, at least 3.2 million tonnes of carbon would be taken up by the soil each year – the equivalent of taking nearly 1 million cars off the road.”