Eco-efficiency Assessment of Olive Farms in Andalusia
Olive farming represents an important source of income and employment in the rural areas of Andalusia (Spain), which is the most important olive oil-producing region in the world. Unfortunately, it also exerts important environmental pressures with regard to soil erosion, use of polluting inputs, excessive water consumption and biodiversity reduction. This paper uses Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) techniques and pressure distance functions to contribute an assessment at the farm level of the ecoefficiency of a sample of 292 Andalusian olive farmers. We distinguish between managerial eco-efficiency and program eco-efficiency; the latter being associated with the different natural conditions prevailing in the three main olive cultivation systems in the region, namely, traditional rain-fed mountain groves, traditional rain-fed plain groves and irrigated intensive groves. Our findings show that eco-inefficient management is a widespread practice across olive farmers, mainly explained by a generalised technical inefficiency. Furthermore, the most eco-efficient production system is the traditional plain growing system. Finally, we find that land productivity strongly influences managerial eco-efficiency in all three aforementioned cultivation systems.
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