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The environmental efficiency of non-certified organic farming in China: a case study of paddy rice production

Listed author(s):
  • Huanxiu Guo

    (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)

  • Sébastien Marchand

    (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)

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

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File URL: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00763675v2/document
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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00763675.

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Date of creation: 26 Sep 2013
Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00763675
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00763675v2
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  1. George E. Battese & D. S. Prasada Rao, 2002. "Technology Gap, Efficiency, and a Stochastic Metafrontier Function," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 1(2), pages 87-93, August.
  2. Weiming Tian & Guang Wan, 2000. "Technical Efficiency and Its Determinants in China's Grain Production," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 159-174, March.
  3. Carlos D. Mayen & Joseph V. Balagtas & Corinne E. Alexander, 2010. "Technology Adoption and Technical Efficiency: Organic and Conventional Dairy Farms in the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(1), pages 181-195.
  4. Battese, G E & Coelli, T J, 1995. "A Model for Technical Inefficiency Effects in a Stochastic Frontier Production Function for Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 325-332.
  5. Shenggen Fan & Xiaobo Zhang & Sherman Robinson, 2003. "Structural Change and Economic Growth in China," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 360-377, 08.
  6. Wang, Guanghuo & Zhang, Q.C. & Witt, C. & Buresh, R.J., 2007. "Opportunities for yield increases and environmental benefits through site-specific nutrient management in rice systems of Zhejiang province, China," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 94(3), pages 801-806, June.
  7. Chen, Zhuo & Huffman, Wallace E. & Rozelle, Scott, 2009. "Farm technology and technical efficiency: Evidence from four regions in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 153-161, June.
  8. Christopher O’Donnell & D. Rao & George Battese, 2008. "Metafrontier frameworks for the study of firm-level efficiencies and technology ratios," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 231-255, March.
  9. Stijn Reinhard & C.A. Knox Lovell & Geert Thijssen, 1999. "Econometric Estimation of Technical and Environmental Efficiency: An Application to Dutch Dairy Farms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(1), pages 44-60.
  10. Guang Wan & Enjiang Cheng, 2001. "Effects of land fragmentation and returns to scale in the Chinese farming sector," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 183-194.
  11. Cuesta, Rafael A. & Lovell, C.A. Knox & Zofío, José L., 2009. "Environmental efficiency measurement with translog distance functions: A parametric approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2232-2242, June.
  12. George Battese & D. Rao & Christopher O'Donnell, 2004. "A Metafrontier Production Function for Estimation of Technical Efficiencies and Technology Gaps for Firms Operating Under Different Technologies," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 91-103, January.
  13. Mary-Françoise Renard & Huanxiu Guo, 2013. "Social activity and collective action for agricultural innovation: a case study of New Rural Reconstruction in China," Working Papers halshs-00802119, HAL.
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