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Argentina: Organic data for 2011 released: Decrease of area, increase of exports

For the first time the update on production in Argentina is available also in English.


The results of the analysis, based on the information provided by the Certification Bodies approved by the Co-ordination Office for Ecological Products of the National Directorate for Agri-food Inspection SENASA indicate the variations in organic production in 2011.

The analysis was based on:

  1. Harvested land area by group of crops and by province;
  2. Analysis of production units;
  3. Animal husbandry and its distribution per province;
  4. Trade analysis:
    1. Foreign markets: exports, groups of products and destinations;
    2. Domestic market.

The harvested land area corresponds to the 2011 calendar year although the
products may not have been certified in the same period. As regards exports, although they were certified in 2011, they may include volumes harvested in previous years.

The results of the analysis indicate, in general, that:

  • The main destinations for organic products continued being the European Union and the USA;
  • A recovery of export operation levels driven, mainly, by US market requirements, was observed;
  • Consumption of organic horticulture products in the domestic market increased;
  • In 2011, a significant increase in the volume of exported plant products was observed, reaching historical records. The group of animal products, on the other hand, has declined, except for wool, which has increased significantly;
  • The certified land area for agriculture and livestock farming decreased by 25% and 7%, respectively, compared to 2010;
  • Cattle stocks again declined, evidencing the lowest number of bovine heads of the past 12 years. Sheep stocks also declined;
  • Apiculture showed again a decrease in the number of certified beehives (10%).

Harvested land area

The harvested land area includes the area harvested for industrial crops, aromatic herbs, vegetables, pulses, fruit, grains and oilseeds. The list of crops included in each group is attached as Annex.

In 2011, the area harvested for organic crops decreased by 6% compared to 2010. Figures by groups of crops indicated that industrial crops declined sharply, -22% as compared to the previous year, and continued the trend being registered since 2008. The remaining groups of crops showed slight variations regarding the previous year.

In 2011, the harvested land area (64,540 hectares) was over the last 5-year average.

The Province of Buenos Aires presented the highest growth, with over 35, 000 hectares, it being the maximum value of organic land area harvested annually, and continued being the main producer of organic crops. The land area in the province of Río Negro decreased compared to 2010 and in Entre Ríos and Salta provinces the harvested land area continued to fall.

As in previous years, the main organic crops were grains and oilseeds, followed by industrial crops.

2. Production units

In 2011, the number of farms in the system decreased again. Although a drop in the number of farms was registered in most provinces, the decrease of operators (87) in the Province of Misiones was significant. However, it remains being the province having more operators. Another significant drop was observed in the province of Buenos Aires, with a decrease of operators (22) by 10%.

At a national level, average size of certified farms is similar to that of 2010. As in previous years, detail per province is uneven.

The number of farms in the system decreased by 8% compared to the previous
year. Important to note is that the ratio between certified organic land area and total land area of the establishments was 94%.

3. Land area for certified livestock farming

The area under livestock farming decreased by 7.5% compared to the previous
year. The drop may be attributed to a reduced land area joining the transition period and the exit of the certified livestock farming land area of farms, while in transition, without acquiring the organic status. This is observed in a fall by 37% of the transition land area, while the ecological livestock farming area showed almost no variations.

4. Volume of products of animal origin:
The export of leading products of animal origin decreased by 19%. The drop
affected all products except for wool top, export of which increased by 300% compared to the previous year.

5. Destination of products

The main destination for certified organic products continued being foreign markets, particularly the European Union, United States and Switzerland although other markets such as Russia, Canada, Ecuador, Norway and Dutch Antilles, gained importance.

Exports of plant products to the European Union increased by 16%, and although it only represents 48% of exports of products of plant origin, the European Union continues being the major destination, and its percentage participation continues to fall. Within the European Union, Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom were the main destinations.

The most significant groups were fruits, industrial crops, oil seeds and vegetables.

The participation of the United States increased compared to the previous year, reaching over 29% out of the total amount as a result of larger volumes exported (47%). The main products exported to the USA were processed plant products, oilseeds and fruits.

Switzerland increased its relative participation since exported volumes doubled
(128%), compared to the previous year. Volumes exported to other markets increased (24%), which allowed maintaining the participation of our products at those destinations.

6. Domestic market

As in previous years, the domestic market offered a variety of different types of fresh products (vegetables and fruits) but had little relevance as a destination for the products.

7. Summary of characteristics of 2011

In 2011, organic production in Argentina was characterised by:

  1. Increase of exports and higher participation of the United States as destination. However, EU member countries continued being the main buyers;
  2. As regards groups of products of plant origin, the highest volume exported corresponded to fruits. Considering all plant products, of significance were pears, cane sugar, apples, wheat and organic soy bean exports.
  3. Exports of all product groups have increased compared to 2010, mainly grains and oilseeds. The highest growth among organic products of plant origin was for grains (wheat and maize) and fruits (pears and apples).
  4. Exports of beans dropped sharply.
  5. Among exports of all organic products of animal origin, sales of wool top grew significantly. The remaining products declined. In all, products of animal origin dropped by 19%.
  6. The harvested land area declined by 7% compared to 2010. However, it reached the third highest value of the past ten years.
  7. For grains and oilseeds, the largest harvested area corresponded to wheat and soybean.
  8. A significant drop was observed for rice, sugar cane, grape and olives.
  9. The livestock farming area decreased by 6.6%, principally due to the reduction of bovine farming area.
  10. The relative importance of organic products exported in greater volume, such as grains, oilseeds (bread wheat and soybeans), fruits (pears and apples), vegetables (onions, garlic and pumpkins) and processed products (sugar and wine) remained unchanged.

Source: SENASA 2012

Further information


  • National Directorate for Agri-food Inspection, Directorate for Agri-food Quality, Co-ordination Office for Ecological Products (2012) “Situation of Organic Production in Argentina in 2011” National Agri-food Health and Quality Service, SENASA Buenos Aires, March 2011 http://www.senasa.gov.ar//Archivos/File/File6001-2011-English.pdf


Note on methodoloy used

Following the methodology that has been used for the analysis since 1998, the
objective of the recently released report is to provide an overview of the situation of certified organic production in Argentina in 2011. Products exported to the US that only conformed to US standards (USDA-NOP) were not included and are therefore not referenced. However, products that conformed both to Argentine and US standards were included.

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