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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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  • MARCHAND, Sébastien
  • GUO, Huanxiu

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 test the existence of a “technology gap” between the two types of production, and calculate their environmental efficiency scores based on the level of pure nitrogen use, 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 that during the initial conversion period to organic farming newly converted organic farmers increase the use of external nutrients such as nitrogen to compensate for potential yield losses. These results highlight the uncertainty with which conventional farmers initially tend to view organic farming. However, we find that the experience gained by organic farmers over time helps them increase and maintain the environmental efficiency. We warn against the rapid expansion of organic farming and recommend more technical support and strict nutrient regulation to foster the environmental efficiency of organic farming.

Suggested Citation

  • MARCHAND, Sébastien & GUO, Huanxiu, 2014. "The environmental efficiency of non-certified organic farming in China: A case study of paddy rice production," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 201-216.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:31:y:2014:i:c:p:201-216
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2014.09.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Lifen Huang & Jie Yang & Xiaoyi Cui & Huozhong Yang & Shouhong Wang & Hengyang Zhuang, 2016. "Synergy and Transition of Recovery Efficiency of Nitrogen Fertilizer in Various Rice Genotypes under Organic Farming," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-14, August.
    2. Régina D.C. Bonou-zin & Khalil Allali & Aziz Fadlaoui, 2019. "Environmental Efficiency of Organic and Conventional Cotton in Benin," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(11), pages 1-17, May.
    3. Huang, Wei & Bruemmer, Bernhard & Huntsinger, Lynn, 2016. "Incorporating measures of grassland productivity into efficiency estimates for livestock grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 1-11.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

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