STA, 7 July 2019 - Slovenia's organic farming sector continues to grow slowly but steadily. There were 3,320 agricultural holdings registered as organic farms last year, a 4% increase over 2017. The farms produced more organic vegetable and fruit in 2018 than the previous year, which was a bad year for farmers due to extreme weather conditions.
Farms holding the status of organic producers represented 4.8% of all farms in Slovenia.
The country's total organic produce grew by 27% last year compared to 2017, amounting to over 29,000 tonnes, while the amount of produced vegetables (over 1,800 tonnes) increased by 21% compared to 2017, shows the Statistics Office data released on Friday.
The production of grapes (over 1,500 tonnes) and olives (over 550 tonnes) increased as well, by 15% and 31%, respectively.
The 2018 organic production of fruit was almost six times bigger than in 2017, weighing more than 5,000 tonnes.
The number of animals in organic farming was mostly lower in 2018 than in the previous year - on average by 9% - with the exception of honey bee colonies (up by 31% to 2,863), other animals, such as game reared in pens (up by almost 9%) and cattle (up by almost 2%).
The total amount of organically produced meat grew by 26% in 2018 compared to 2017.
The production of organic milk in 2018 mostly increased compared to 2017 - organic cow's milk was up 20% to 6,900 tonnes, sheep milk was up by almost 2% to 181 tonnes, while goat milk was down 13% to 139 tonnes.
The organic production of honey and eggs grew in 2018 as well - by 41% and 26%, respectively.
Agricultural areas intended for organic farming increased in 2018 - by 1,320 hectares or 7% compared to 2017. The organic vineyard area grew by 37%, organic orchards by 14% and olive grooves by 13%, while the area for organic production of vegetables increased by 11%.
The share of permanent pastures and meadows in organic farming is decreasing though, but at a slow pace - the share was at 82.8% in 2017 and 81.7% in 2018.