THERE are now 50.9 million hectares of organic agricultural land worldwide, serving a global organic market worth in excess of $80 billion.

This latest data was presented by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture in its statistical yearbook "The World of Organic Agriculture", which found that the positive trends seen in recent years are continuing.

Worldwide consumer demand is increasing, up by a whopping 11% in the United States, the world’s largest organic market. More farmers are cultivating organically, more land is certified organic, and 179 countries reported organic farming activities, up from 172 the previous year.

The market research company Organic Monitor estimates the global market for organic food to have reached $81.6 billion in 2015 (approximately €75 billion), of which the US is the leading market with €35.9 billion, followed by Germany on €8.6 billion, France on €5.5 billion, and China on €4.7 billion euros. In 2015, most of the major markets showed double-digit growth rates.

On the production side, there were 2.4 million organic producers reported in 2015, with India continuing to be the country with the highest number of producers (585,200), followed by Ethiopia (203,602), and Mexico (200,039).

More than 50 million hectares of organic farmland

A total of 50.9 million hectares were organically managed at the end of 2015, representing a growth of 6.5 million hectares over 2014, the largest growth ever recorded. Australia is now the country with the largest organic agricultural area (22.7 million hectares), followed by Argentina (3.1 million hectares), and the US (2 million hectares).