In return organic farms can save on expensive synthetic fertilizers and

In return organic farms can save on expensive

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increases production costs, particularly in developed countries where labour is expensive. In return, organic farms can save on expensive synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In industrialized countries, premium prices often paid for organic products make up for reductions in net returns. They are not considered in the presentation of the net returns in the studies listed below, since they are very much determined by societal and political processes that vary greatly over time and between countries. However, their importance should not be neglected, as it is the premium prices and government support payments that largely contribute to making organic agriculture profitable in Europe (Offermann and Nieberg, 2000). 22. Clark, et al. (1999) found in California, USA, the net financial returns (without premium prices) of organically grown tomatoes, beans and maize to be lower than conventionally grown crops, due to high costs in management of seedlings (tomatoes), weed control and cover crop management. In the Rodale trial, after two years of transition and learning, net returns (without premium prices) were similar in both systems, with the conventional system spending more on fertilizers and pesticides and the organic system having higher machinery costs due to mechanical weed control and additional cover crop/green manure planting. The net returns of the organic system were more stable over the years. However, when the transition period was included in the calculation and if family labour was
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OFS/2007/1 9 remunerated, organic returns dropped to 10 percent below the conventional returns (Pimentel, et al., 2005). In the USA, organic apples have 10-15 percent higher production costs than conventional apples, due to differences in weed control practices, fruit thinning and compost applications – all implying expensive labour costs (Reganold, et al.2001). In the cotton belt of central India, a case study found that organic net returns (without premium prices) on seed cotton were significantly higher than conventional net returns, because of 10-20 percent lower production costs (Eyhorn, 2006). 23. While costs for agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, pest management and seeds were 40 percent lower in the organic system, expenditures for hired labour were only slightly higher on organic farms compared to conventional farms. This study points out that premium prices are required to make up for income reductions during the conversion period (two to three years). C. ADAPTED TECHNOLOGIES MAKE ORGANIC AGRICULTURE SUCCESSFUL 24. Organic agriculture’s resource efficiency comes from using technologies well targeted to sites and scales and the recycling of natural resources. The most successful technologies are usually developed together with farmers (Williamson, 2002) or driven by the market (Delve, 2004). Appropriate technologies 25. One of the most beneficial aspects of organic agriculture is the integration of different farm activities to create synergies with positive environmental effects, family supply and financial benefits.
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