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Comparing conventional and organic citrus grower efficiency in Spain


  • Mercedes Beltrán

    (Universidad de Valencia (Spain))

  • Ernest Reig

    (Universidad de Valencia (Spain))


This paper compares the organic and conventional citriculture systems in Spain from the perspective of their technical efficiency. The efficiency of the two growing systems is compared in relation to a metafrontier that envelops both technologies in order to identify the limitations each farming system faces. In addition, the paper analyzes how efficient each growing system is at using its own technology, that is, their efficiency in relation to the best practices in their group. Contrary to conventional practice, farms’ performance is analyzed in terms of the cost of specific growing tasks: soil and plant cover management, pruning, fertilization and phytosanitary treatments. The results highlight that both organic and conventional orchards would achieve substantial global cost savings if they reached the maximum level of efficiency that their technological restrictions permit. The gap between the levels of efficiency on the frontier of each of the systems and the metafrontier is much wider in the case of organic than in conventional citriculture. Consequently, there is evidence that the limitations imposed on organic citriculture by regulatory and technological determinants have a significant impact on the relative efficiency of organic orchards in citrus fruit production, with potential consequences as regards their financial viability.

Suggested Citation

  • Mercedes Beltrán & Ernest Reig, 2014. "Comparing conventional and organic citrus grower efficiency in Spain," Working Papers 1406, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
  • Handle: RePEc:eec:wpaper:1406

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Meike Weltin & Silke Hüttel, 2023. "Sustainable Intensification Farming as an Enabler for Farm Eco-Efficiency?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 84(1), pages 315-342, January.
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    4. Tanko, Mohammed & Ismaila, Salifu, 2021. "How culture and religion influence the agriculture technology gap in Northern Ghana," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 22(C).
    5. Lakner, Sebastian & Breustedt, Gunnar, 2015. "Efficiency analysis of organic farming systems- a review of methods, topics, results, and conclusions," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212025, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    6. DJOKOTO, Justice Gameli & OWUSU, Victor & AWUNYO-VITOR, Dadson, 2020. "Is Organic Agriculture More Scale Efficient Than Conventional Agriculture? The Case Of Cocoa Cultivation In Ghana," Review of Agricultural and Applied Economics (RAAE), Faculty of Economics and Management, Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra, vol. 23(2), October.
    7. Djokoto, Justice Gameli & Pomeyie, Paragon, 2018. "Productivity of organic and conventional agriculture – a common technology analysis," Studies in Agricultural Economics, Research Institute for Agricultural Economics, vol. 120(3), December.
    8. Magdalena Kapelko & Alfons Oude Lansink, 2018. "Managerial and program inefficiency for European meat manufacturing firms: A dynamic multidirectional inefficiency analysis approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 25-36, February.
    9. Anirban Nandy & Piyush Kumar Singh & Alok Kumar Singh, 2021. "Systematic Review and Meta- regression Analysis of Technical Efficiency of Agricultural Production Systems," Global Business Review, International Management Institute, vol. 22(2), pages 396-421, April.
    10. Kenichi Kashiwagi & Hajime Kamiyama, 2023. "Effect of adoption of organic farming on technical efficiency of olive-growing farms: empirical evidence from West Bank of Palestine," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 11(1), pages 1-28, December.
    11. Froehlich, Anderson G. & Melo, Andrea S.S.A. & Sampaio, Breno, 2018. "Comparing the Profitability of Organic and Conventional Production in Family Farming: Empirical Evidence From Brazil," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 307-314.
    12. Coral Ortiz & Antonio Torregrosa & Sergio Castro-García, 2021. "Comparison of a Lightweight Experimental Shaker and an Orchard Tractor Mounted Trunk Shaker for Fresh Market Citrus Harvesting," Agriculture, MDPI, vol. 11(11), pages 1-10, November.
    13. Pépin, Antonin & Morel, Kevin & van der Werf, Hayo M.G., 2021. "Conventionalised vs. agroecological practices on organic vegetable farms: Investigating the influence of farm structure in a bifurcation perspective," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 190(C).

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    Organic citrus farming; technical efficiency; Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA); meta-frontier;
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