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A policy relevant assessment of the environmental impacts of organic farming

Dabbert, S.; Stolze, M.; Häring, A.M. and Piorr, A. (2000) A policy relevant assessment of the environmental impacts of organic farming. In: Alföldi, Thomas; Lockeretz, William and Niggli, Urs (Eds.) Proceedings of the 13th International IFOAM Scientific Conference, IFOAM 2000 - The World Grows Organic, Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH Zürich, pp. 148-151.

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Summary

Organic farming has become an important aspect of European agri-environmental policy. Since the implementation of EC Reg. 2078/92, the EU promotes organic farming based explicitly on its positive effects on the environment. The objective of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of organic farming's effects on the environment in comparison to conventional farming and to discuss the policy relevance of these issues.
For this purpose the OECD set of environmental indicators for the agricultural sector has been adapted, taking into consideration only those indicators that are directly affected by the system of organic farming, as are the indicator categories ecosystem, natural resources, farm input and output, and health and welfare. Based on a survey of specialists in 18 European countries (all EU-member states plus NO, CH, and CZ) using a structured questionnaire and an extensive literature review, a conclusive assessment is given for each of the indicator categories.
For most of the chosen indicator categories organic farming performs better than conventional farming on a per ha basis. These results are discussed with respect to their policy relevance. An increase in the area of organic farming would clearly improve the environmental performance of agriculture, as long as food production level is not a limiting factor. The question of whether there are other agri-environmental means of achieving a desired level of environmental performance that might be cheaper for society than organic production is discussed. It is concluded that the support of organic farming can be a useful part of the agri-environmental tool box, however, other, more specific instruments are also needed. Organic farming seems especially useful if broad environmental concerns are to be addressed.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:EU, policy, Agrarpolitik, OECD, conventional, comparison, environment, Umwelteinflüsse, EU-Richtlinien, EU regulation, agricultural policy, environmental effects, environmental policy
Subjects: Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Research affiliation: Germany > University of Hohenheim > Production Theory and Resource Economics
Related Links:http://www.baerfuss.de/b-204/b-204-006.php4
Deposited By: Bichler, Dipl.-Ing.sc.agr. Barbara
ID Code:2342
Deposited On:25 Feb 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:28
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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