Conventional agriculture “simply is not the best choice anymore today” the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter stressed. “A large segment of the scientific community now acknowledges the positive impacts of agro-ecology on food production, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation – and this is what is needed in a world of limited resources.”
Organic agriculture is one of the farming methods which is based on agro-ecology. It is globally still a niche with less than 1 % of farm land. Nonetheless, in some countries, it has grown out of the niche reaching 20 % like in Austria or 11 % in Switzerland.
Driving factors for the success of organic agriculture are i) consumers, ii) agro-environmental measures (AEM), iii) the positive basic attitude of the civil society and iv) action plans of the governments with clear targets and with support for applied research and dissemination.
In Austria and Switzerland, conventional retailers like REWE, Hofer/Aldi, Coop and Migros are the main promoters of organic food, in Germany, exclusively organic chains like Alnatura and Basic have become very successful.