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The environmental efficiency of non-certified organic farming in China: a case study of paddy rice production

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  • Huanxiu GUO

    (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS : UMR6587 - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)

  • Sébastien Marchand

    (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS : UMR6587 - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)

Abstract

This case study compares the environmental efficiency of non-certified organic and conventional rice production in southern China. Using plot-season level survey data, we first test the existence of a "technology gap" between the two types of production, and then calculate the environmental efficiency scores based on the use of pure nitrogen, which is considered as an environmentally detrimental input within the framework of the stochastic frontier analysis. Our analysis reveals that organic farming loses its environmental performance at high nitrogen levels and especially during the initial expansion period of organic farming as newly converted organic farmers prefer to increase the use of external nutrients such as nitrogen to compensate for a potential yield loss. These results highlight the uncertainty with which conventional farmers tend to view organic farming. However, we find that the experience gained by organic farmers over time helps increase and maintain their environmental efficiency. We thus warn against the rapid expansion of organic farming and recommend more technical support and strict nutrient regulation to maintain the environmental efficiency of organic farming.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00763675.

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Date of creation: 26 Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00763675

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Keywords: Organic farming; Environmental efficiency; Stochastic frontier analysis; China;

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  1. Cuesta, Rafael A. & Lovell, C.A. Knox & Zofío, José L., 2009. "Environmental efficiency measurement with translog distance functions: A parametric approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2232-2242, June.
  2. George E. Battese & D. S. Prasada Rao, 2002. "Technology Gap, Efficiency, and a Stochastic Metafrontier Function," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business, and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 1(2), pages 87-93, August.
  3. Carlos D. Mayen & Joseph V. Balagtas & Corinne E. Alexander, 2010. "Technology Adoption and Technical Efficiency: Organic and Conventional Dairy Farms in the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(1), pages 181-195.
  4. Stijn Reinhard & C.A. Knox Lovell & Geert Thijssen, 1999. "Econometric Estimation of Technical and Environmental Efficiency: An Application to Dutch Dairy Farms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(1), pages 44-60.
  5. Chen, Zhuo & Huffman, Wallace E. & Rozelle, Scott, 2009. "Farm technology and technical efficiency: Evidence from four regions in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 153-161, June.
  6. Shenggen Fan & Xiaobo Zhang & Sherman Robinson, 2003. "Structural Change and Economic Growth in China," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 360-377, 08.
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