Detail: In a new peer-reviewed publication, researchers from FIBL, ORC and other Swiss/UK institutions have examined the efficiency of financial support for organic farming as an agri-environmental policy measure as implemented in Switzerland, While the economic efficiency of financial support of organic farming has been questioned by some economists and policy makers, little empirical research has been done in order to evaluate the economic performance of these payments. The aim of this study, led by Christian Schader of FIBL, was to calculate the cost-effectiveness of organic farming support in achieving environmental policy targets compared to other agri-environmental measures. Mixing system-based approaches, such as organic farming, with more targeted, single approach measures such as extensification of arable land and meadows, has the potential to be more effective in terms of benefits due to the multiple outputs from the system-based approaches. In terms of costs, 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 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. The study also indicates that the cost-effectiveness of specific agri-environmental measures is higher when implemented on organic farms rather than on non-organic farms.
For further details see: Schader C, Lampkin N, Christie M, Nemecek T, Gaillard G, Stolze M, 2012. Evaluation of cost-effectiveness of organic farming support as an agri-environmental measure at Swiss agricultural sector level. Land Use Policy. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.06.014
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