Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Boom of organic farms slows down

6 February 2013

Prague, Feb 5 (CTK) - The boom of organic farms in the Czech Republic slowed down notably last year, the number of organic farms growig by mere 14 to 3,394, Agriculture Ministry spokesman Jan Zacek told CTK Tuesday.

In the previous years, the number of organic farms used to grow by tens of percent annually.

The area on which organic farmers worked last year increased by 5,731 hectares to 488,658 hectares, which was 11.46 percent of the total farmland area in the Czech Republic.

The share of organic farms in the total farmland area in the Czech Republic is one of the highest in Europe.

The number of organic food producers in 2012 decreased by 192 to 646.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, the decrease in the number of new organic farms is caused by a halt of subsidies to fledgeling organic farmers.

Subsidies to new organic farmers will not be paid this year either. The growth in the number of organic farms will therefore not be as high as it used to be. State support was the main reason for farmers to be switching to organic farming.

Last year, organic farmers applied for more than Kc1.2bn in state support.

The area of arable land used for organic farming last year decreased by 1.4 percent to 58,500 hectares.

The extension of permanent grass areas, on the other hand, increased by 2.3 percent. Permanent grass areas have the highest share in Czech organic farming (80 pct), serving mainly as pastures for cattle.

The area of organic vineyards increased by 35 hectares to 1,000 hectares, the area of organic orchards by 3.3 percent to 6,672 hectares, and the area of organic hop fields by 1 hectare to 11 hectares.

According to a plan approved by the cabinet in December 2010, the share of organic farming should increase to 15 percent by 2015. The share of organic food in the total food market should treble from the current roughly one percent. The ratio between imported and domestic organic food should change to the benefit of domestic products.

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