Exploring cost dominance between high and low pesticide use in French crop farming systems by varying scale and output mix
Policy makers as well as land users in developed countries are willing to promote new agricultural practices that are more environmentally friendly. This can be possible notably among several others by reducing chemical utilization. For instance in France, the agreement of the “Grenelle de l’environnement” encourages farmers to decrease pesticide use per ha about 50% over a period of ten years. This paper deals with a framework which aims at assessing the cost dominance between technologies that favor less or more pesticide levels per ha. Cost functions are estimated thanks to a non-parametric activity analysis model and a robust approach frontier is introduced in order to lessen the sensitivity of the cost frontier to the influence of potential outliers. With respect to this, two cost functions characterized by a relatively lower or higher pesticide level per ha are compared. Based on a sample of 707 French crop farms observed in year 2008, our simulations clearly show that agricultural practices using less pesticide per ha are more cost competitive than practices using more pesticide without inducing other input substitution costs. In addition, results are differentiated by farm size and types of crop to identify possible scale and output mix effects. They reveal that this cost dominance is a robust phenomenon across size and scope dimensions and economically support more green practices in terms of crop activities.
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