Indicator: Organic farming

A graph shows the increase of the share of organic farming areas in total utilised agricultural area based on data of the German Federal Statistical Office and the FMFA. It also shows the 30 percent target of the Federal Government.Click to enlarge
Share of organic farming in total utilised agricultural area
Source: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture / Federal Statistical Office Figure as PDF

Table of Contents

 

At a glance

  • According to the data of the German Federal Statistical Office, the share of area under organic farming of agricultural land increased from 2.9 % to 9.6 % from 1999 to 2020.
  • The Federal Government aims to increase the proportion of organically cultivated areas in agricultural land to 30 % by 2030.
  • At the growth rate of recent years, this aim is expected to be missed until 2030.
 

Environmental importance

Conventional intensive agriculture causes a range of environmental impacts and is partly responsible for a loss of biodiversity. Organic agriculture is a more environmentally sustainable and ecologically beneficial type of management. The aim is to close nutrient cycles as far as possible and to manage in harmony with nature.

Organic farming does not use any mineral fertilisers. A range of crop rotations with intercropping maintain and support soil organisms and soil fertility. Avoiding the use of synthetic chemical pesticides enhances biological diversity on agricultural land. A more species-appropriate animal husbandry serves animal welfare and ensures acceptance by the general public. Organic agriculture therefore has a pioneering role in sustainable land management.

 

Assessing the development

The share of organically managed areas has increased from 2.9 % to 9.6 % in the period from 1999 to 2020. According to that, the total area of organic farming has shown a small but steady increase over the period reviewed. As part of both the German Sustainable Development Strategy (BReg 2016) and the German National Strategy on Biodiversity (BMU 2007), the Federal Government aims to increase the proportion of organically cultivated areas in agricultural land to 20 %. In the 2021 coalition agreement, the German government set the goal of 30% by 2030. But even if the steady increase continues at the level of recent years, the 30 % target would not yet be reached in 2030. Thus, it is important to identify obstacles to growth in organic farming and take efficient measures to eliminate them. Planning security and continuous support are needed to increase the willingness of farmers to convert to organic farming on a permanent basis.

 

Methodology

The German Federal Statistical Office uses various surveys (including the Agrarstrukturerhebung, Bodennutzungshaupterhebung) to determine the area that is organically farmed. The survey covers organically farmed areas of farms larger than five hectares that are subject to the control procedure of the EU legislation. The reference used to calculate the area share is the agriculturally used area (again from five hectares upwards). A slightly different data set is used by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The indicator covers areas that are managed in accordance with the European Eco-Basis Regulation and are reported to federal state authorities. Small enterprises are also included in the data set. For methodological reasons, the data of the BMEL therefore show a higher proportion of organically farmed area. The area shares of organically managed land based on BMEL statistics shows a slight increase to 10.9 % for 2021. The data of the Federal Statistical Office for 2021 is not yet available.

More detailed information: ‘Ökologischer Landbau‘ (in German only).