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Organic crop farms cover 5% of EU agric area

There were more than 186,000 organic crop farms in Europe two years ago, cultivating an area of 9.6 million ha, or 5.4% of the total agricultural area. The most recently available figures from 2011 show an increase from a total organic crop area of 5.7 million ha in 2002, says a new report from the European Commission. The largest share of the organic crop area was permanent pasture (about 45%), followed by cereals (around 15%) and permanent crops (about 13%). A separate public consultation carried out by the Commission earlier this year, which generated close to 45,000 responses, found that 83% of consumers bought organic products mainly out of concern about the environment, and 81% because they were free from genetically modified organisms and pesticide residues.

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