Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Farming – Environmentally sound production in our cultivated landscapes

Indicator 2.1.b: Organic farming

SDG-2.4.1
(Evaluation of the development of Germany in the reporting year 2019 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)

Selection

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This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The indicator shows the share of total utilised agricultural land in Germany that is cultivated by organically managed farms subject to the inspection system prescribed by the EU legislation on organic farming (Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 and the implementing rules). It includes land that has been fully converted to organic management as well as areas still undergoing conversion.

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

Organic farming preserves and protects natural resources to a particularly high degree. It has a wide range of beneficial effects on nature, the climate and the environment and fosters the production of high-quality food. For this reason, an increase in the proportion of organically farmed agricultural land to 20% is targeted for 2030.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

Last modification of code (data) 2021-09-09: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window
Last modification of code (text) 2021-09-10: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

Data on organic farming is collected by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and by the Federal Statistical Office.

The Federal Statistical Office uses various surveys to determine the area of organically farmed land. The reference value in the percentage computation is the total utilised agricultural area determined in the annual land survey. The agriculturally utilised area comprises all surfaces used for agricultural or horticultural purposes. Accordingly, building and farmyard areas of agricultural holdings are not included in the reference value.

The data collected by the BMEL includes details of the amount of organically farmed land reported annually by the organic regulatory authorities of the Länder. The reporting date is 31 December of each year. All reports for a current year are accumulated no later than this reporting date. The values shown in the data held by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture are somewhat higher. One of the reasons for this is that areas not subject to cut-off thresholds are measured against areas to which cut-off thresholds apply. This means that, in the calculation of the percentage, the numerator includes very small plots, whereas only areas of a certain minimum size count towards the denominator.

According to the data held by the Federal Statistical Office, the share of organically farmed land increased from 2.9% to 7.8% of the utilised agricultural area between 1999 and 2019. The figure for 2019 corresponds to an organically farmed area of 1.29 million hectares. The data from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture indicate a higher percentage of organically farmed agricultural land. According to those data the value for 2019 was 9.7% or 1.61 million hectares.

Although the last few years have seen a further increase in the area of organically farmed land, the annual percentage increase from year to year has fluctuated widely. Percentage growth stagnated, for example, between 2016 and 2017 but rose sharply again in the period from 2017 to 2019. On the basis of the figures from the Federal Statistical Office, if the trend of the last five reference years were to continue, the target of 20% of utilised agricultural area being farmed organically by 2030 would not be achieved.

Germany’s organically farmed land was used as follows in 2019: 57.2% as permanent pasture, 46.7% as arable land and 1.8% for other uses. By contrast, the main use in agriculture as a whole was as arable land, with 70.4%, while the share of permanent pasture was 28.5% and other uses accounted for 1.2% of total utilised agricultural area. According to the results of the 2016 agricultural structure survey, Bavaria held the largest share of organically farmed land among all the Länder with around 23%, followed by Brandenburg with 12% and Baden-Württemberg with just under 12%.

The conversion to organic farming is promoted to varying degrees by the individual Länder.

According to Eurostat data, a total area of 13.4 million hectares was organically farmed in the EU-28 states in 2018. This represented 7.5% of the entire utilised agricultural area. The highest ratios of organically farmed land within EU countries were registered for Austria, with 24.1%, followed by Estonia with 20.6%, Sweden with 20.3%, Italy with 15.2% and the Czech Republic with 14.8%.

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)

Indicator

2.1.b Organic farming

Target

Increase the proportion of organically farmed agricultural land to 20% by 2030

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019

Evaluation Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich

Source 1

 Eurostat

Organisation

Eurostat

Data source Eurostat database opens in a new window

Source 2

 Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Organisation

Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Data source Agricultural holdings total and holdings with organic farming opens in a new window