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Almost twice as many organic crops are being grown in the UK as a year ago and sales are the second highest in Europe, according to new figures.
The report by the Soil Association shows the area of fully organic land is equivalent to three times the size of Greater London - having increased from 240,000 hectares to 458,600 hectares.
Almost 80% of households buy organic food, spending ｣920 million, more than any other European country apart from Germany.
The data is revealed in the Soil Association's Organic Food and Farming Report 2002, the most comprehensive survey of the organic market, drawing on information from organic businesses, retailers, 15,000 shoppers and government.
The figures show that there are now nearly 4,000 licensed organic farms throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The south-west of England remains the most popular region and is home to over a quarter of all organic farms.
Patrick Holden, Soil Association Director, said "This is an exciting time for the organic industry which is one of the fastest growing areas of the UK food and drink sector.
"The majority of households now buy organic food, all the leading supermarkets see organic food as a major growth area and in the last year, organic farming has been given crucial financial backing from the government.
"The challenge ahead is to encourage consumers and retailers to increase their support for UK farmers by choosing home-produced organic food wherever possible."
Consumer information is provided by Taylor-Nelson Sofres Superpanel, which polled 15,000 households and covered April 2001-2002.