Italy is EU's largest organic farmer
Italy’s organic farming sector is the fifth largest in the world, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Some 1.1 million ha, accounting for 8.4% of the country’s planted area, was dedicated to organic crops at in 2006. It was the largest in the EU in terms of the agricultural area and the number of farms. The EU’s crop area for organic produce was 6.1 million ha in 2005 ( Agrow No 522, p 9). A shortfall in EU subsidies for organic farming impacted on the Italian sector from 2002, when the organic area peaked at 19% of the total agricultural area. The planted area for organic crops has been recovering since 2005. The country’s major organic crops, each with an area in excess of 100,000 ha, are: small-grain cereals, forage plants, pasture and olives.