Organic Continues To See Tremendous Growth


The 23rd edition of the World of organic agriculture, which is produced in collaboration between FIBL and IFOAM Organics International is out. Easily one of the most important books, that comes out of the organic movement, and also one of the most underrated ones. It's a book that really helps us to better appreciate where the organic movement has come from, where we are at, and gives us a sense of where we are going based on some of the achievements we've had from the previous years.

I do not think that most people appreciate enough how important this book is to the organic movement. A lot of sectors find it very hard to have this kind of book, which could give them a detailed overview of their industry, In fact, in some situations, industry leaders have to pay in order to have access to this kind of book. But for us as the organic movement, we are in a very good position to have it consistently over the years without coughing any money for it. One thing you can do is help support FIBL and IFOAM Organics International.

The book is usually released during BIOFACH, An international trade fair for organic food that happens in mid-February, but due to the COVID situation, the international trade fair for organic food was postponed to the summer from the 26th to the 29th of July. It's a book that has a lot of information with over 300 pages worth of information.

So my mission here is to help condensed down this information to bits that are easily digestible and give you really the information that you need to know. In case you are working out or driving, you can listen to the audio version of this summary on Spotify.

 State Of The Organic Movement

As of 2020, the organic movement is in 190 countries. Considering Coca-Cola is virtually in every single country, except North Korea and Cuba mainly due to political reasons, we have work to do. That being said, remember that organic is a philosophy, mindset, and vision of how agriculture should be done.

Arguably, we are in all countries, it's just that these activities haven't been documented yet. In terms of organic agricultural land, we had over 74 million hectares. Compare that to 1999, when we only had 11 million hectares. From the perspective of continents, Oceania continues to dominate with 35.9 million hectares - which represents almost half of the world’s organic agricultural land while Africa has the least with 2.1 million hectares, representing only 2.8 percent of the world's organic land.

 State of the Organic Movement in 2020 

From countries perspective, Australia continues to spearhead with about 36 million hectares, followed by Argentina (4.5 million hectares) and Uruguay (2.7 million hectares). Globally, Agricultural land that was organic stood at 1.6% with Liechtenstein really showing us how organic should be done with over 40% of its land being organic, Austria followed in second with 26.5 percent.

It's fair to note that in 18 countries, 10 percent or more of the agricultural land was organic. The organic movement saw an Increase of organic agricultural land by 4.1 %, that’s 3 million more (ha) with Argentina leading the race with a 21% increase.

Organic Farmers

Back in 1999, we only had 200,000 producers, fast forward to NOW, we have over 3.4 million producers, Although this number can be assumed to be way higher mainly due to the fact that numbers reported by some countries report only the numbers of companies, projects, or grower groups, which may each comprise many individual producers or some countries do not provide data at all on the number of producers.

56 percent of the world’s organic producers are in Asia, followed by Africa at 24 percent, and Europe at 12 percent. India continues to lead the way with about 1.6 Million producers followed afar by two African countries; Ethiopia 219,56 and Tanzania 148,607.

 Do You see a similar opportunity for Africa that I am seeing? 

The Organic Market

The Organic market also continues to show tremendous growth now reaching 120.6 billion euros. Back in 2000, it was only worth 15.1 billion euros. If we were to look at the organic market from a GDP standpoint, the organic movement would be the 57th country in the world above countries like Kuwait, Ukraine, and Cuba among others.

From an African perspective, it would be fourth only below Nigeria, South Africa & Egypt. The USA continues to dominate this area with a market worth 49.5 billion euros followed in a distance by Germany at 15.0 billion euros and France at 12.7 billion euros.

Canada was the country that registered the biggest growth with its market growing by 26.1 percent. Per capita consumption stood at 15.8 euros, which basically means that each year, every person spends about 15.8 euros on organic. Switzerland has the highest Per capita consumption of 418 euros followed closely by Denmark at 384 euros and Luxembourg at 285 euros. European countries continue to lead in the percentage of the organic market of the total market with Denmark leading the pack with 13.0 percent, followed by Austria at 11.3 percent and Switzerland at 10.8 percent.

The Rise Of Organic Cotton

Probably one of the most neglected areas within the organic movement but quickly becoming an important and integral part. For years, we focused on the food part but seemed to forget about the fiber part. But its No surprise given how damaging conventional cotton is, a lot of popular brands such as Nike Adidas, and Superdry all have organic cotton initiatives, with Superdry even penning a deal with one of the global football superstars Neymar JR, A Story that I covered to front their organic cotton section.

Development of organic cotton over the years. 

For the fourth year in a row, organic cotton production increased, making 2019/20 a record-breaking season with the biggest ever harvest of organic cotton. This followed three years of strong growth; 31 percent in 2018/19, 55 percent in 2017/18, and 10 percent in 2016/17. In total, production has increased 112 percent in the previous four years, from 118’032 tones (MT) in 2016/17. Organic cotton accounted for almost one percent of global cotton production in 2019/20, up from 0.5 percent in 2016/17

In terms of production, India dominates with up to 50 percent of organic cotton originating there, China is second with 12 percent, and Kyrgyzstan with 12 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa saw the biggest growth in 2019/20, with production rising 91 percent, thanks primarily to the expansion of projects in Tanzania and Uganda. The region now accounts for seven percent of the global total. Organic cotton production is forecasted to skyrocket in 2020/21, with an estimated 48 percent growth, stemming predominantly from India and Turkey.

Organic Policy

As of 2020, 76 countries and territories have fully implemented organic regulations with 20 countries having organic regulations that are not fully implemented and 13 are drafting legislation. European Union and New Zealand represented countries that are going through significant revisions. Several countries are fostering agroecology such as Madagascar, which had the first law on organic agriculture promulgated in 2020.

Nicaragua enacted a Law on Agroecological and Organic Production, The Philippines has The Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 mandated the development and promotion of organic agriculture and Uganda launched a national Organic Agriculture Policy (NOAP) in 2019, among other countries.

 State of the organic Policy 

Several other countries a pursuing Pathways towards 100% organic. Sri Lanka is one of them where In March 2021, the government released the National Agriculture Policy proposing a shift to organic fertilizers from 1 to 30 percent in three years. The Government of Togo also published its National Development Plan in 2018 (2018-2022 with a vision for 2030), which includes provisions for the development of the organic sector in the country.

The New Zealand Government also introduced the “Organic Products Bill” in February 2020. The intention is to establish a regulatory framework aiming to develop a single national standard to cover export, domestic, and imported certified products. In June 2021, the Peruvian Government also passed an Organic Agriculture National Plan 2021-2030 (PLANAE 2021-2030) as an essential tool for implementing organic agriculture law at a national and municipal level. Other several countries are working towards an organic future.


 XOXO, The Organic Guy

The Organic Guy

The Organic Guy

The Organic Guy is on a mission to live an organic lifestyle while helping farmers create wealth through organic farming!