Organic agricultural land increases 8% in Spain, now largest in Europe
The organic farming area in Spain stood at 2.24 million hectares in 2018, an 8% increase on the previous year. This was two percentage points less than the growth of the area in Catalonia in the last year.
According to annual data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), 44,282 organic operators were active - 6% more than the previous year, comprising 39,505 producers, 4,627 processors, with traders, importers and exporters making up the remaining amount. Catalonia is home to 8.71% of all producers in Spain.
With regard to organic livestock farms, overall growth is "small but steady", up 1.68% in 2018 compared to the previous year, although there was notable growth of 14.94% in sheep's milk, 14.86% in dairy cow, and 11.51% in pork, which are significant data in such major sectors as dairy and pork.
Organic industries grew considerably in 2018, with 7,670 industries related to plant production, 15.13% more than the previous year, as well as 1,216 industries related to animal production, a rise of 5.65%.
The acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, highlighted "the significant, sustained growth" each year in this sector.
Planas described organic production today as "an economic reality" in Spain, which also contributes to creating jobs and to people settling in rural areas. The data confirm that Spain has the most organic agricultural land in Europe and one of the largest in the world.
However, although spending per capita in Spain is on the up, it is still low, now standing at €46.50 per person/year, twice the €21.85 registered in 2013.
Consumption of and demand for organic products is expected to rise in the future, in line with how consumer demand is developing and in keeping with a "clear trend" of convergence with the most advanced countries in the European Union (EU).
The MAPA has stated that this production method plays a social role in that as well as supplying organic food to a specific market, it provides society with goods that contribute to protecting the environment, animal welfare and rural development, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
The full annual report broken down by autonomous community will be available soon.