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Calculating the 'real' cost of apple production: integrating environmental impacts using life cycle analysis into economic data


  • Annaert, Bernd
  • Vranken, Liesbet
  • Mathijs, Erik


The environmental impact of apple cultivation practices in Belgiium is evaluated based on FADN data from 2010-2012 for 64 farms. The study evaluates integrated production, the most common practice, and it compares this production method with conventional production and a small number of organic producers. A life cycle approach was used to assess the environmental impacts of these farms. Impacts related to the categories 'acidification', 'eutrophication' and 'global warming potential' were monetixed based on the shadow price method in order to obtain external costs. External costs increase the production costs at least with 5 percent. both when they are expressed per kilogram and per hectare. No significant improvement in environmental costs were found for integreated farms compared to conventional farms. The findings showed however a large variability in costs per farm. Farm specific practices have therefore an important influence on the total environmental cost rather than production group specific practices.

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  • Annaert, Bernd & Vranken, Liesbet & Mathijs, Erik, 2015. "Calculating the 'real' cost of apple production: integrating environmental impacts using life cycle analysis into economic data," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 210952, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae15:210952
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.210952

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    1. Thomassen, M.A. & Dolman, M.A. & van Calker, K.J. & de Boer, I.J.M., 2009. "Relating life cycle assessment indicators to gross value added for Dutch dairy farms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2278-2284, June.
    2. Mouron, Patrik & Scholz, Roland W. & Nemecek, Thomas & Weber, Olaf, 2006. "Life cycle management on Swiss fruit farms: Relating environmental and income indicators for apple-growing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 561-578, June.
    3. Pretty, J. N. & Brett, C. & Gee, D. & Hine, R. E. & Mason, C. F. & Morison, J. I. L. & Raven, H. & Rayment, M. D. & van der Bijl, G., 2000. "An assessment of the total external costs of UK agriculture," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 113-136, August.
    4. Pretty, J.N. & Ball, A.S. & Lang, T. & Morison, J.I.L., 2005. "Farm costs and food miles: An assessment of the full cost of the UK weekly food basket," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-19, February.
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