According to the annual World of Organic Agriculture statistical report launched this Wednesday by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture at Germany’s Biofach show, the growth of organic retail sales in Ireland is second only to Spain’s.

Irish consumers spent €31 per capita on organic food in 2015, up 23% on the previous year. This remains far below world leader Switzerland, where the average shopper spent €262 on organics in 2015.

The land area farmed organically in Ireland grew by 41% in 2015 as conversions under the last round of the organic scheme kicked in, placing the country in sixth position in the European league of fastest-growing organic nations. This is expected to continue at a similar pace this year.

This, however, is from a very low base and Ireland’s 73,000 organic hectares that year represented only 1.8% or its farmland – around 10 times less than in leading nations such as Austria and Sweden and in the middle of the global league.

The report also includes statistics on the Fair Trade sector. Irish consumers had the world’s second-highest spend on Fair Trade products in 2015 at €54 per capita, just behind Switzerland.

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