UK defies EU's upward trend in organic farming area

The UK now has less than half the 28 EU states' average share of organic farming by area, official figures published today (25 October) show.

Image: Friends of Family Farmers (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Image: Friends of Family Farmers (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Between 2010 and 2015 the area of the EU devoted to organic farming grew by almost two million hectares and now accounts for 6.5 per cent of total farmed area.

But in the same period the UK's organically farmed area fell to below 3 per cent of total farmed area, slumping from 700,000ha to 496,000ha, a 29 per cent fall.

Among the other 27 member states, only the Netherlands also saw a fall during the period, of 4.4 per cent. Ireland's organic area grew by more than half, but it still remains ahead of only Malta at 1.6 per cent organic by area.

The sharpest growth over the period was seen in recent members Bulgaria and Croatia, which each saw more than fourfold increases in certified organic area. The EU's "most organic" member state remains Austria, at over 20 per cent of total farmed area.

Taken together, Spain, Italy, France and Germany account for over half of both the EU's organic crop area and its organic producers.

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