Organic production in Catalonia reached two new historical records in 2023: the first, in terms of the area of ​​organic agricultural production, with a growth of 4% compared to the previous year; and the second, related to operators, which have grown by 6%. These figures bring the territory closer to the European objectives set for the year 2030, according to data from the annual balance sheet carried out by the Catalan Consell de la Producció Agrària Ecològica (Ccpae) which was published today, Tuesday, May 14.

The ecological agricultural area in Catalonia reached 283,591 hectares last year, which represents the aforementioned increase of almost 4% in the last year and 152.29% in the last decade. Barcelona is the province with the highest growth compared to 2022 (7.88%), followed by Tarragona (6.89%). However, the largest area remains in Lleida, which accumulates nearly 140,000 hectares, almost half of the total in Catalonia, according to data in this report.

Regarding ecological operators, during 2023 their number increased by 6%, with an increase of 115.91% in the last ten years. Barcelona accumulates the largest number of operators, followed by Tarragona, which is also the province with the greatest growth in the last year (10.37%), according to this balance.

“Despite the different crises that we are experiencing, such as the increase in raw material prices and the drought -among others-, the Catalan organic sector demonstrates for another year that it is resisting and continues to grow,” highlights David Torrelles, president of the Ccpae, during the presentation of the report.

For her part, Elisenda Guillaumes, director general of Agriculture and Livestock of the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, and in charge of presenting the balance sheet, emphasizes that “we are very well on track” and that the latest data bring Catalonia closer to the objectives set by the Farm to Table (2021) strategy of the European Green Pact.

“In Catalonia, we reach 22.5% of the useful ecological agricultural area, a figure that brings us closer to the goal of 25% in 2030 that this strategy foresees,” Guillaumes specifies, and adds: “We are leaders in Europe in regards to to the secondary and tertiary sector, which gives added value to our production; In Catalonia there are 27% more processors, 26% more marketers and 32% more importers compared to Spain.”

Likewise, the report emphasizes that in the last decade the volume of organic billings has multiplied by seven. In 2022 (latest data available) the growth in turnover was 8.74%, reaching 1,294 million euros.

In relation to the destination of these sales, the authors highlight that 41% of the manufactured products remain in Catalonia and consider that this figure is a consequence of the fact that this territory is one of the communities with the most developed consumption of organic products. Of the rest, 26% goes to Spain, 17% to other countries in the European Union and, finally, 16% is exported to third countries.

Finally, it stands out that both organic livestock farming and organic agroindustry have also registered growth in the last year, both around 3.5% compared to the previous year, according to data from the report.

Catalonia closed 2023 with 1,135 livestock farms, which represents an increase in the organic livestock sector of 70.16% in the last ten years, and with beef positioned as the majority subsector. Lleida registers the most important growth in organic livestock for the last year, with 7.39%, well above that of Tarragona (which does not reach 3%) and that of Barcelona and Girona (which do not reach 1%).

To conclude, Elisenda Guillaumes wanted to underline the importance for the sector that the Action Plan for the development of organic production 2024-2027 has been approved. “The objective is to promote organic agri-food production in Catalonia from the entire chain: from production and use of farm and sea resources to consumption by citizens,” closes the director of Agriculture and Livestock.