Organic farming is on the up - latest Defra statistics

13th May 2022

Defra released the latest set of organic farming statistics on 12 May 2022. As always the figures cover the previous year. The numbers show an increased area of land under organic conversion, up 34% on the 2020 statistics.

OF&G published a press release with comment from our chief executive, Roger Kerr. Roger was quoted in several new publications. Here is the full release is full.

OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers) has welcomed the news from Defra that land going through the two-year conversion period to organic is up 34% in 2021, compared to 2020; but asserts that the opportunity is even greater.

“I’m not surprised by the news,” says CEO Roger Kerr. “There is strong appetite from farmers to shift to more agroecological practices and the opportunity for organic and the premium gained for certified produce is clearly attractive.”

But he notes that the 34% figure quoted by Defra, is from a relatively low area of in-conversion land. “We must remember that the organically farmed area in the UK is still less that 3%, compared to the EU at over 9%. All the same, it’s incredibly positive given the challenges of the last few years” he says.

He adds that he is quietly confident for the future uplift in the organically farmed area. “The latest figures from Defra don’t consider the big economic shocks of the past year. Add to that, the fact that farming is in a period of unprecedented change.

“The upshot is that we are seeing a bigger interest than ever in ‘de-risking’ farming businesses.

“The Ukraine conflict has illustrated the volatility of input cost and reducing or removing artificial inputs entirely is being seriously considered by a lot of farmers.”

Roger also points to a growing demand for organic produce. “Consumer spending on organic is up, hitting around £3 billion for the first time.

“And while we have to be mindful of the cost-of-living crisis, core organic consumers are proven to be resilient and with an increasing focus on the environment, market opportunities are opening up,” he says.

“The EU has set a goal for 25% of the land area to be organic by 2030. That will be accompanied by heavy investment in promoting the sector and represents a strong near-market opportunity for UK growers.”

In March, OF&G published its manifesto ‘Championing organic within agricultural policy’ to highlight the key advantages of the organic approach in response to the unprecedented transitional upheaval in the farming sector.

Organic farming statistics 2021 -

Defra’s organic farming statistics including previous years up to and including 2011 -