Latvia sixth in EU for organic farming

Latvia ranks in sixth place among European Union countries when it comes to the proportion of agricultural area used for organic farming, according to Eurostat data released February 22.

The area used for organic agricultural production in the EU covered 14.7 million hectares in 2020, up from 9.5 million hectares in 2012, equivalent to a rise of 56%. In 2020, the total organic area in the EU corresponded to 9.1% of the total utilised agricultural area (UAA). 

Between 2012 and 2020, the share of the agricultural area used for organic farming increased in all EU Member States except for Poland.

In 2020, the highest shares of organic farm areas within total UAA were in Austria (25%), Estonia (22%) and Sweden (20%).  By contrast, the share of organic farming was below 5% in eight EU Member States, with the lowest shares in Ireland and Malta.

Latvia ploughed a place for itself among the top nations, with 14.7% of its agricultural area classed as organic, up from 10.63% in 2012. 

In 2020, in 8 EU Member States (Lithuania, the Netherlands, Czechia, Sweden, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia and Luxembourg) more than 90 % of organic crop areas were reported as certified. Other 14 EU Member States had shares of 'certified organic' between 70 % and 90 %. The lowest shares of certified areas were recorded for Hungary (64.1 %), Malta (61.2 %) and Romania (58.9 %), which means that there is a high potential for further growth in certified area in these countries in the next years. Due to the 2-3 years conversion period of agricultural land, a high share of area under conversion is necessary to avoid a stagnation in the growth of the certified organic area.

Latvia does particularly well on organic livestock. The 2020 figures for organic livestock as a share of all livestock showed that, in some EU Member States remarkably large shares of bovinessheep and goats were reared using organic methods — bovines and sheep and goats being the most popular species. There were more than 4.5 million organic bovines in the EU out of a total 76.5 million bovine animals reported in 2020.

Greece had the highest share of organic bovine animals (30.3 %) and second highest share of organic dairy cows (21.8 %). Austria and Latvia had the largest share of organic ‘sheep and goats’ (36.0 % each in their sheep and goat population), while Latvia also ranked second for the largest share of the organic bovine population (25.6 %). Austria had the highest share of organic dairy cows (22.0 %) followed by Greece (21.8 %) and Sweden (18.8 %).

Organic farming in EU, 2020
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