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Germany: organic sales crack 10 billion euro barrier

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In 2017, the organic sector achieved sales of over 10 billion euros for the first time. This was announced by Peter Röhrig, Managing Director of the Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW, Engl. Association Organic Food Industry), on the occasion of the annual press conference of the organic sector at the start of this year's BIOFACH in Nuremberg.

According to the calculations of the “Arbeitskreis Biomarkt”, sales of organic food and beverages rose by 5.9 percent in 2017, with a total market volume of 10.04 billion euros (2016: 9.48 billion euros). "For the first time in 2017, sales of organic products exceeded 10 billion euros for the first time," says Peter Röhrig about the strong increase in sales of the German organic market. “More and more customers are buying more and more organic products. More and more people want to strengthen local farmers, the climate and biodiversity, animal welfare and the health of their families and the environment.” The total turnover of the organic sector is distributed as follows:

  • 2.91 billion euros (incl. non-food: 3.29 billion euros) in the organic food trade with a 2.2 percent increase in sales and a market share of 29 percent
  • 5.93 billion euros in food retailing with an 8.8 percent increase in sales and a market share of 59 percent
  • 1,20 billion euros in other shops

Strong momentum for conversion in 2017

“Bio offers an important perspective for more and more farmers to give their farm a future,” says Röhrig with a view to the strong conversion dynamics in 2017. According to estimates of the BÖLW, the domestic organic area in 2017 increased by 124,647 ha (10 percent) to a total of 1,375,967 ha. Thus, 8.2 percent of Germany's total agricultural area was managed by organic farmers. At the annual press conference, BÖLW also announced the following developments and figures from the past year 2017:

  • more than every 10th farm (10.9%) works ecologically
  • a total of 29,174 or 2,042 more farms than in the previous year operate their farm ecologically
  • the number of farms decreased by about 7,600 to 267,800 farms

Appeal to the Federal Government

Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, chairman of the BÖLW, appealed to the Federal Government to use the great potential for organic food for a sustainable conversion of food and agriculture: “The positive development of organic shows that the political support in the federal government and in many federal states works. In recent years, more farmers have been able to convert to organic farming. This benefits farmers, the environment and customers. It is important for the coming months that the federal, state and EU governments design the new organic legislation in a meaningful way. (…).“

With the ‚Zukunftsstrategie Ökolandbau‘ (Engl.: Future Strategy for Organic Farming), the Federal Government could provide important initial impetus for this, if implemented consistently. It is also good that, by agreeing on 2030, the coalition agreement  sets a concrete date for the target of 20% organic areas. He further commented: “The common European agricultural policy must aim to use taxpayers' money to help those farmers who protect the environment, animals, water, biodiversity and climate. For many years now, organic farmers in Germany and around the world have been demonstrating how organic farming is not only economically successful, but also ecologically successful.”


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