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Organic agriculture in North America 2011

In North America, almost 2.7 million hectares are managed organically, of these nearly two million in the United States and 0.7 million in Canada, representing approximately 0.7 percent of the total agricultural area in the region and 7 percent of the world’s organic agricultural land.

US sales of organic products continued to grow during 2009 despite the distressed state of the economy. In fact, organic product sales in 2009 grew by 5.3 percent overall, to reach 26.6 billion US dollars. Of that figure, 24.8 billion US dollars represented organic food or 3.7 percent of the food market. The remaining 1.8 billion were sales of organic non-foods. Projections for 2010 and beyond indicate higher growth rates for organic sales in North America.

On the Canadian front, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2010 released a new report on the Canadian organic sector’s trade data and retail sales. Analyzing the 2008 sales of organic foods, the report concludes that the total Canadian organic market is now worth 2 billion Canadian dollars annually.

Regarding legislation, representatives from the Canada Organic Office and the US National Organic Program have completed a full peer review, in order to monitor and evaluate how the US-Canada organic equivalence arrangement is being applied.