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Germany: Organic farming continues to grow

(15/07/2011) 

According to a recent press release of the German Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (www.BMELV.de ), organic farming in Germany continued the trend shown in recent years and once again achieved solid growth rates in 2010. With an increase in the organically farmed land of 4.6 percent (2009: + 4.3 percent), the number of agricultural holdings practising organic farming rose by 4.3 percent (2009: + 6.2 percent).

This is shown by the 2010 annual reports on organic farming provided by the federal states that are available to the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV).

According to these reports, by the end of 2010, a total of 990,702 hectares of agricultural land in Germany were being managed in accordance with Community provisions on organic farming by a total of 21,942 holdings. This means that, compared with the previous year, the number of organic agricultural holdings rose by 895 and the area managed in accordance with the EU Regulation on Organic Farming by 43,588 hectares.

The percentage of agricultural holdings practising organic farming rose to 7.3 percent in 2010 (2009: 5.6 percent), while the percentage of agricultural land farmed organically went up to 5.9 percent (5.6 percent in the previous year). The solid growth rates of previous years for organic farming were thus confirmed once again, both for agricultural holdings practising organic farming and for agricultural land managed in accordance with the provisions of the EU Regulation on Organic Farming.

The number of processing companies in the organic sector also increased again compared with the previous year. A total of 7,703 companies processing organic products in 2010 represents an increase of 4.5percent against 2009. While the number of importers was roughly at the previous year's level, the number of companies that both process and import organic products rose by 6.7 percent compared with the previous year. The number of pure trading enterprises increased by 8 percent.

In 2010, there were a total of 32,714 operators (producers, processors, importers) in the organic sector. These operations are controlled in accordance with the strict provisions of the EU Regulation on Organic Farming by the inspection bodies for organic products which are authorized by the state and supervised by the federal states. Apart from these controls, which are conducted at least once a year, additional risk-based controls and unannounced random checks are also carried out.

* It should be noted that the number of total farms has changed in 2010 due to a new counting system.

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