Comparing conventional and organic citrus grower efficiency in 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.
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