The increase of 7.4 % in the total area under organic farming between 2007 and 2008 illustrates the continuing positive trend in the organic sector in EU-27. In 2007, the area under organic farming accounted for 4.1 % of the Total Utilised Agricultural Area. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of producers (agricultural holdings) using organic farming methods within EU-27 rose by 9.5 %. Cattle and sheep are the most popular species reared using such methods. The main industrial activities in the organic sector are the processing and preserving of meat and the production of meat products as well as the processing and preserving of fruit and vegetables. The aim of this publication is to describe the situation of the organic sector in 2008 and the more recent developments, paying particular attention to organic farming. Wherever possible, it also includes comparisons with and references to agriculture as a whole.
In Denmark and Sweden which had seen decreases during the period 2003 to 2005, the percentage share of organic area started to pick up again, increasing from 4.9 % to 5.1 % in Denmark and from 7.0 % to 9.9 % in Sweden. Austria, with 15.7 % of the total agricultural area, remained in the lead.
Although the share of organic producers in total agricultural holdings within the EU-27 showed only a very slight increase between 2005 and 2007 (from 1.2 % to 1.3%), nearly all Member States posted an upward trend. This was similar to the situation in the areas under organic production. In 2007, Bulgaria, Ireland, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia each accounted for a share of less than 1%. Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Austria and Finland posted shares over 5%, while Austria led with 12.1%. Only Sweden and Finland reported a fall in their shares, although Finland still managed to reach 5.9%. In Norway, too, the share was slightly over 5% (see Figure 8).
The developments in the individual Member States from 2007 to 2008 differed according to the species. Romania and Finland recorded large increases in the number of organically farmed sheep (103.0% respectively 88.1%), while Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom had the biggest increases of all Member States for cattle (31.7%, 28.9% and 27.6%).