Czech Republic: Organic farming continues to grow

After several years of stagnation, organic farming is growing in the Czech Republic. Over the past nine months, the country has seen the creation of 322 new farms and 23 businesses devoted to organic food production. It is a response to the increasing demand for this commodity.

Recent data revealed that, in 2013, the total expenditure in organic food reached almost two billion crowns (73.9 million euros), which was 9.5 percent more than in the previous year; nevertheless, the share of organic food in the country's total consumption is still negligible, with less than one percent.

Companies involved in organic agriculture, however, are expected to continue growing, as demand is constantly on the rise. A survey last year showed that the percentage of people who buy organic food has increased to 41 percent (in 2010 it was 37 percent). However, it is worth noting that the people buying such foods annually spend an average of nearly two hundred crowns (7.39 euros).

Consumers are generally discouraged to buy them because of their higher price. "The farming system is governed by national and European regulations; organic farmers must additionally undergo strict controls on an annual basis," said Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-CSL). Compliance with these standards comes at a cost.

Currently, organic farming accounts for more than 500,000 hectares of the total 2.5 million hectares of land in the Czech Republic, which is almost 12 percent. The country has one of the top five largest proportions of organic producers in the European Union. Last year, subsidies per hectare exceeded one billion crowns (36.95 million euros).


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