Market analysts Christine Rampold and Tim Boenigk from Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft have presented facts and figures on the organic market at the Bio-Fachforum. The organic area grew by 3.2 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year. "After the big years of conversion in 2016 and 2017, growth rates have continuously dropped. In 2022, the total area of organically farmed land amounted to 1.8 million hectares, which corresponds to around 11% of the agricultural lands. In order to achieve the target of 30 percent organic farming by 2030, an annual increase of 10 to 11 percent would have to be added." The largest organic areas in Germany can be found in Bavaria, Brandenburg and Baden-Württemberg.

Tim Boenigk and Christine Rampold from AMI and Henning Niemann from KÖN

The market situation for organic potatoes and vegetables was discussed as well. In 2022, there was an increase of 7 percent in the total organic potato cultivation area, which corresponds to 12,800 hectares, of which 10,900 hectares alone are earmarked for table potatoes.

More potatoes were imported in MY 2021 due to the large amount of rain. In turn, 2022 was characterized by weaker sales of imported goods due to the better quality of stored goods. At the same time, German produce was also available for a longer period last year. While large quantities of organic early potatoes came from Egypt and Israel in previous years, they are now mainly sourced from Spain and Portugal. The import share in 2021/2022 was 55%. In 2022/2023, the share fell again by twelve percent.

In the period from January to September 2023, the share of organic potatoes sold by discounters was 17.1% higher than in the same period last year, meaning that 42% of all organic potatoes sold are now sold via discounters. A further 34% are sold through full-range retailers, 5% through specialist organic food retailers and a further 20% through other outlets.

Figures on organic vegetables
In 2022, the area under organic vegetables totaled 17,560 hectares, according to Boenigk. Compared to the record year 2021, 500 hectares less were cultivated, which corresponds to the decline in the area under legumes. 50 percent of organic vegetable areas are generated in Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. In percentage terms, the largest organic areas are found in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony with 30 percent. The most commonly grown products are root and tuber vegetables, which account for around a third of the total area, followed by leafy and stem vegetables with around a quarter of the total area. In principle, the area under cultivation has remained stable for all crops.

The proportion of imported fruit vegetables, such as peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, almost stood at 90 percent. However, the share of domestic organic onions and carrots is increasing. In MY 2020/2021, the share of imported onions was still 40%, while in 2022/2023 it was only 36%. At 130,000 tons, organic fruit vegetables are the most sold vegetables. Overall, however, a decline in demand of 3.5% can be seen across all types of vegetables, albeit a small one.

Major organic growth at discounters
Discounters are increasingly establishing themselves in the organic sector. After all, their market share in organic vegetables is around 48%. Full-range retailers are in second place with a market share of 32 percent. However, the growth in the discounters would be at the expense of specialist organic food retailers and other shopping outlets such as the weekly market. In the current year, there was a decline in demand for fruit vegetables and lettuce, which was primarily due to the supply and price situation. However, sales of products such as asparagus and onions increased by 32% and 22% respectively.

The area under organic carrots has remained stable at around 3,000 hectares since 2021. In terms of harvest volume, 2021 was a strong year for carrots. 2022 was again very weak due to the drought. The import share was 35%, spread across the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark and other countries. In the current year, there were also signs of price reductions due to higher volumes. "Consumers have noticed this: The massive price increases were also noticeable for customers. However, prices have stabilized back to a normal level in the trade." Organic carrots are mainly imported from the Netherlands and Spain, although the proportion of imports is lower than in previous years.

For organic onions, there will be a twelve percent increase in acreage from 2021 to 2022 to 1,600 hectares. Overall, however, there was a relatively stable increase in harvest volumes of 7 percent compared to the previous year. The drought in 2022 did not have too much of an impact on the onions, as it was also possible to irrigate a lot. In 2021/2022, the import share of organic onions was 36 percent, previously over 40 percent. Most of the imports come from the Netherlands. Originally, the price level was stable at €75.00/100 kg in packing stations. Cold, wet conditions in spring, more difficult sowing conditions, etc. led to delayed harvesting dates and a corresponding temporary supply shortage, which is also reflected in prices as volumes increase. However, consumer prices for onions were fairly stable.

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