article analyses the current position, the issues and prospects of organic
farming in the world and particularly in Europe. A first section asserts the
weakness of the current world organic market (less than 1% of the food market),
but also its strong growth over recent years. In Europe the sales of organic
produce, very variable according to countries, remain, on the whole, (very)
modest per head though they are on the increase. Consumer motivations mostly
connect with health, the environment, taste, animal welfare. A second section
looks at the increase of organic farmland in the world, in Europe and in
France, along with a rapid historical overview of its slow emergence over the 20th
Century. Finally an analysis of what holds up the expansion of organic
agriculture takes up the third part: limits to consumer purchase growth, some
difficulties encountered by producers, competing demands for land, developments
in supermarket distribution, internal dissentions, to end up stressing the need
for agriculture as a whole – not just a small component of it to become more sustainable.
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