Area under organic farming
Justification for indicator selection
Organic farming is a farming system that has been explicitly developed to be environmentally sustainable, and is governed by clear, verifiable rules. It thus appears most suited for identifying environment-friendly farming practices compared to other types of farming that also consider environmental aspects, such as Integrated Farming.
Farming is only considered to be organic at the EU level if it complies with Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 (and amendments). In this framework, organic farming is differentiated from other approaches to agricultural production by the application of regulated standards (production rules), certification procedures (compulsory inspection schemes) and a specific labelling scheme, resulting in the existence of a specific market, partially isolated from non-organic foods.
- No rationale references available
Share of organic farming area (sum of existing organically farmed areas and areas in process of conversion) as a proportion of total utilised agricultural area (UAA).
Organic agriculture can be defined as a production system which puts a high emphasis on environmental protection and animal welfare by reducing or eliminating the use of GMOs and synthetic chemical inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides and growth promoters/regulators. Instead, organic farmers promote the use of cultural and agro-ecosystem management practices for crop and livestock production. The legal framework for organic farming in the EU is defined by Council Regulation 2092/91 and amendments.
Sum of organic area and area being converted, measured in ha. Share of organic farming is given as a percentage of total utilised agricultural area.
Policy context and targets
Organic farming is an environmentally sustainable form of agricultural production. Its legal framework is defined by Council Regulation 2092/91 and amendments. The adoption of organic farming methods by individual farmers is supported through agri-environment scheme payments and other rural development measures at Member State level. In 2004 the EU Commission published a 'European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming' (COM(2004) 415 final) to further promote this farming system.
No specific EU target on the share of organic farming area.
A number of EU Member States have already set targets for area under organic farming, often 10-20 % in 2010.
Name of Programme
Aktionsprogramm Biologische Landwirtschaft 2003-2004
At least 105.000 ha in 2004 and at least 115.000 in 2006
Vlaams actieplan biologische landbouw - Flemish Action Plan
10 % organic farmers
Actionplan II - Developments in organic farming
10 % organic farmers, 20.000 ha more than 1999
Plan Pluriannuel de Developpement et la Promotion de l'Agriculture Biologique
2010 France as the leading European organic producing country, Conversion of 1 million ha and 25 000 farmers by 2005
Bundesprogramm kologischer Landbau
20 % organic by 2010
An organic market to conquer
5 % organic land until 2005 , 10 % organic land until 2010
20 % organic land in 2005
Welsh Agrifood Action Plan for the Organic Sector (March 1999)
10 % organic land
The Andalusian Plan for Organic Farming
No specific target with regard to area
Related policy documents
COM (1998) 42
Communication of the European Commission to the Council and to the European Parliament on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy. COM (1998) 42
Methodology for indicator calculation
The indicator is calculated by measuring the total agricultural area certified as organic or in conversion to organic farming in accordance with EU Reg. 2092/91 and dividing it by the total utilised agricultural area.
Methodology for gap filling
No gap filling
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
Data sources in latest figures
Accuracy of data on organic farming varies between countries, and includes provisional estimates.
Data sets uncertainty
- Geographical and time coverage on EU level:
Depends on research funding and support from organic organic farming associations.
- Representativeness of data on national level:
Representativeness is high but some countries still have a rather low share of organic farming which limits the possibility to follow trends.
No uncertainty has been specified
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Work descriptionThe indicator currently relies on a data set compiled by a research institute due to the limited geographical coverage of official statistics. When official data for the EU-25 become available it seems advisable to change to that data set (compiled by Eurostat) even though the timeliness of data is likely to decrease.
No resource needs have been specified
Deadline2099/01/01 00:00:00 GMT+1
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoKarina Makarewicz
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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