Slower growth for organic farming

03/01/2005 10:00

The area of land used for organic farming in the Netherlands increased by nearly 5 percent between 1 April 2002 and 1 April 2003, to more than 37 thousand hectares. This is 2 percent of the total area of agricultural land in the Netherlands.

The number of organic farms rose by 9 percent to nearly 1,200. In addition 120 farms were in the conversion period.

Number of agricultural and horticultural businesses

Number of agricultural and horticultural businesses

Fewer businesses converting

On 1 April 2003 some 120 businesses were in the process of converting from traditional to organic methods. This is 30 percent down on one year previously. The area of land of farms in the process of converting decreased by one third to just over 3 thousand hectares. As the number of farms converting has fallen strongly, the growth in organic farming will also slow down.

Area of organically farmed land

Area of organically farmed land

Above average increase for horticulture and livestock

Certified organic land used for horticulture increased by 10 percent in the space of one year, to more than 700 hectares. The area of organic land used by livestock farmers rose by 11 percent. For arable farmers the area remained about the same, at 8,600 hectares.

Organic livestock

On 1 April 2003 Dutch organic pig farmers reported raising more than 24 thousand porkers organically, 70 percent more than twelve months previously. The number of organic dairy and calving cows remained unchanged at nearly 17 thousand. The number of dairy goats raised on organic farms also remained at the same level.

Area of organic farmland per province

Area of organic farmland per province

Largest increase in Limburg

The area of organic farmland rose by most in the province of Limburg: an increase of 57 percent. In Gelderland it decreased by 12 percent. Organic farming is most common in Flevoland: nearly one fifth of all organically farmed land is in this province and 8 percent of all agricultural land in Flevoland is farmed organically.

Johan Fraeijhoven