Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL

Frick, Switzerland

Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL

Frick, Switzerland
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Schader C.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL | Lampkin N.,Organic Research Center | Lampkin N.,Aberystwyth University | Christie M.,Aberystwyth University | And 3 more authors.
Land Use Policy | Year: 2013

The economic efficiency of financial support of organic farming has been questioned by economists and policy makers. However, little empirical research has been done in order to evaluate the economic performance of these payments. Thus, the aim of this paper is to calculate the cost-effectiveness of organic farming support in achieving environmental policy targets compared to other agri-environmental measures.The cost-effectiveness of agri-environmental measures can be understood as a function of policy uptake, environmental effects, and public expenditure. Taking the Swiss agricultural sector as an empirical case study, cost-effectiveness of organic farming support and other single agri-environmental measures was calculated. For this purpose, the sector-representative PMP model FARMIS was extended by three modules encompassing: (a) life cycle assessments for fossil energy use, biodiversity and eutrophication according to the SALCA methodology, (b) public expenditure, including policy-related transaction costs, and (c) uptake of agri-environmental measures.The calculations revealed a slightly higher policy cost with organic farming support of 14. CHF/ha for a 1% average improvement in the environmental indicators, compared to a combination of three single agri-environmental measures (11. CHF/ha), including both extensification of arable land and meadows. In view of an average public expenditure on agriculture of 2.5. kCHF/ha in Switzerland, these differences can be considered as marginal. Sensitivity analyses confirm that the cost-effectiveness of organic farming support is very similar to combined agri-environmental measures. Furthermore, the model reveals that the cost-effectiveness of specific agri-environmental measures is higher when implemented on organic farms rather than on non-organic farms. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Schader C.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL | Lampkin N.,Aberystwyth University | Lampkin N.,Elm Farm Research Center | Muller A.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2014

The Tinbergen Rule has been used to criticise multi-target policy instruments for being inefficient. The aim of this paper is to clarify the role of multi-target policy instruments using the case of agri-environmental policy. Employing an analytical linear optimisation model, this paper demonstrates that there is no general contradiction between multi-target policy instruments and the Tinbergen Rule, if multi-target policy instruments are embedded in a policy-mix with a sufficient number of targeted instruments. We show that the relation between cost-effectiveness of the instruments, related to all policy targets, is the key determinant for an economically sound choice of policy instruments. If economies of scope with respect to achieving policy targets are realised, a higher cost-effectiveness of multi-target policy instruments can be achieved. Using the example of organic farming support policy, we discuss several reasons why economies of scope could be realised by multi-target agri-environmental policy instruments. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Bravin E.,Agroscope Changins Wadenswil | Hofmann D.M.,Agroscope Changins Wadenswil | Kockerols K.,Agroscope Changins Wadenswil | Weibel F.P.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FIBL
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

With economic indicators from the full cost account and the cash flow statement it is possible to identify the return-risk profile for the organic and the integrated apple production in Switzerland. The full cost account and the cash-flow time line are composed with the managerial-economical software-tool Arbokost. Due to higher (more than 100%) prices in the organic production, growing organic satisfies more return-oriented producers than growing certified integrated. However, the higher return in the organic production is bound to a higher risk. With the certified integrated production (IFP), return and risk are lower. 'Arbokost' is an economic farm management software tool for fruit growers. Per orchard it reflects a full cost account, the cash flows collected during 15 years, the earned income for each year and other different key data which are important for certified integrated and organic apple production in Switzerland. Also, the cost differences between Swiss organic and certified integrated apple production can be calculated.

Armengot L.,University of Barcelona | Armengot L.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL | Berner A.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL | Blanco-Moreno J.M.,University of Barcelona | And 2 more authors.
Agronomy for Sustainable Development | Year: 2014

Agricultural practices such as soil tillage emit greenhouse gases such as CO2 and N2O. As a consequence, reducing the tillage could both reduce greenhouse emissions and improve soil quality. In Europe about 25 % of arable land is managed under reduced tillage and no tillage, mainly using herbicides to get rid of weeds. Therefore, a major drawback for organic farmers is that the lack of herbicide and soil inversion could increase weed infestation. Here, we compared reduced tillage and conventional tillage in a 2002–2011 field experiment under organic management in Switzerland. We analyzed crop production and weed flora, with a focus on perennials and grasses. Data on yield, cover, richness, and composition of the weed flora were collected for wheat in 2003 and 2009, sunflower in 2004 and 2010, and spelt in 2005 and 2011, through two complete rotations. We found that weed abundance was 2.3 times higher under reduced tillage, though we did not observe a systematic increase with time. The average abundance of perennials almost doubled over time under reduced tillage, thus changing the community composition between tillage systems. Despite the weed increase, yields were similar for reduced tillage and conventional tillage. As a consequence, this study represents the first long-term trial under organic management showing that reduced tillage improves the environmental performance of this cropping system. © 2014, INRA and Springer-Verlag France.

Weibel F.P.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL | Kruczynska D.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL | Konopacka D.,Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture RIPF
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

In our study within the European ISAFRUIT project, we examined in Poland and Switzerland the acceptance of representative organic and conventional food buyers for new disease resistant apple cultivars in comparison to similar-type common cultivars (6 cultivars per country). In total 120 testers were involved. The panel tests were carried out with blinded samples in a first run, and in a second run as branded samples where information on production system (organic or integrated) and price (+26% for organic fruit) was given. With additional questionnaires we assessed the importance of the testers' general knowledge and perception on organic (fruit) production on their preference behavior. With blinded samples, in both countries both consumer groups rated the appearance and eating quality of resistant and susceptible apple cultivars relatively equal with minor advantages for the standard cultivars. However, when the samples were branded, organic buyers of both countries significantly increased their preference in appearance and on taste for the organic samples. In Poland, even the conventional buyers increased their rating for branded 'bio' samples; meanwhile the Swiss conventional buyers decreased it clearly. The analysis of the questionnaires revealed that: (i) in both countries and with both buyer groups, the awareness for the high importance of resistant cultivars for organic production is only mediocre; (ii) to increase their buying of organic apple they mainly require more basic and apple-specific information on organic production; (iii) the consumers expect from organic apples an outstanding inner quality but also a good price; (iv) the consumer's trust in the control and certification of organic production is only mediocre.

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