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 7.8 % from 1999 to 2019.
- The Federal Government aims to increase the proportion of organically cultivated areas in agricultural land to 20 % by 2030.
- At the growth rate of recent years, this aim will still take decades to achieve.
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 7.8 % in the period from 1999 to 2019. 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 %. This target shall be met by 2030. However, Germany is still a long way from achieving this aim: even if the steady increase continues at the level of recent years, the 20 % target would not 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.
The German Federal Statistical Office uses various surveys (including the Agrarstrukturerhebung) 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.
More detailed information: ‘Ökologischer Landbau‘ (in German only).