Organic farming is a modern way of working the land without using chemicals, enables the production of high-quality food and is an integral part of the agricultural policy of the Czech Republic. As well as producing organic food, it also contributes to better living conditions for farm animals, environmental protection and greater biodiversity.
Czech farmers are showing increasing interest in the production of organic food. As of the beginning of 2012 there were already 646 organic food producers registered in the country, along with 3,920 organic farmers working an area of 482,927 ha, which represents 11.4 % of all agricultural land. Of this, 59,281 ha was arable land, 6,453 ha plantations, and vineyards accounted for an area of 965 hectares.
Since 2007, organic farmers have been paid area aid under the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, where organic farming is one of the agri-environmental measures. Funding paid - area payments for land classified as used in organic farming or in a transitional period, in the years 1998-2011: GRAPH:
In collaboration with non-governmental organisations the Ministry of Agriculture has prepared an Action Plan for the Development of Organic Farming in the Czech Republic 2011-2015, which follows on from the Action Plan to 2010. The Czech government adopted the new Action Plan in December 2010. The main objectives of the Action Plan are to achieve a 15 % proportion of organic farming by 2015, a 60 % share of Czech organic foods in the organic foods market, and a 3 % share of organic foods in the food market overall.
Each inhabitant of the Czech population spends around CZK 200 on organic food products per year, and the share of organic food in total consumption has remained approximately 1 % over the long term. About 60 % of organic food is imported, and total sales of organic food, including exports, are currently at the level of around CZK 2.1 billion.
Czech consumers buy most organic food from retail chains (67 %), followed in second place by health food and organic food shops (20 %). In 2011, another approximately 4 % of organic food was purchased in pharmacies, and sales at drugstore chains also substantially increased (3 %). The share of direct sales of organic food (consisting of farm-direct sales and direct purchases from producers and distributors) accounts for a further 4 %, the share of sales at independent small food shops is 1 %, and around 1 % of organic food is sold in restaurants.