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Productivity and profitability on cotton-based production systems under organic and conventional management in India

Forster, Dionys; Andres, Christian; Verma, Rajeev; Zundel, Christine; Messmer, Monika and Mäder, Paul (2014) Productivity and profitability on cotton-based production systems under organic and conventional management in India. In: Rahmann, G. and Aksoy, U. (Eds.) Building Organic Bridges, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Braunschweig, Germany, 2, Thuenen Report, no. 20, pp. 647-650.

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The debate on the relative benefits of conventional and organic farming systems is more topical than ever. The achievements of conventional high-input agriculture were based to a large extent on fossil fuels and largely brought about at the cost of deteriorating soil fertility. Developing more sustainable farming practices on a large scale is of utmost importance. However, information about the performance of farming systems under organic and conventional management in tropical and subtropical regions is sparse. This study presents agronomic and economic data from the conversion phase (2007-2010) of a farming systems comparison trial on a Vertisol soil in central India. A cotton-soybean-wheat crop rotation under biodynamic, organic and conventional (with and without genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton) management was investigated. We observed a significant yield gap between organic and conventional farming systems in the first crop rotation (cycle 1: 2007-2008) for cotton (-29%) and wheat (-27%), whereas in the second crop rotation (cycle 2: 2009-2010) yields were similar in all farming systems. Lower variable production costs in organic farming systems (-32%) led to similar gross margins in all systems, averaging 104’909 Indian rupees ha-1 (equivalent to 2’089 US Dollars ha-1) per crop rotation. Conventional farming systems achieved significantly higher gross margins in cycle 1 (+29%), whereas in cycle 2 gross margins in organic farming systems were significantly higher (+25%). Our findings show the potential benefits of organic farming systems under the premise that marginal farmers have access to knowledge, purchased inputs such as organic fertilizers, pesticides and non-GM seeds, and assuming that there is a market demand and well developed certification system. Future research needs to focus on the verification of our outcomes in further crop cycles, on geographically spread on-farm comparisons, and on the ecological impact of the different farming systems. 

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Bt cotton, economic analysis, long-term experiment, organic agriculture, smallholder farmer, soybean, systems comparison, wheat, Baumwolle, Cotton
Agrovoc keywords:
Economic analysis
Organic agriculture
cropping systems
Subjects: Farming Systems > Farm economics
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Crop husbandry > Composting and manuring
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Research affiliation: Switzerland > Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International
International Conferences > 2014: 18th IFOAM OWC Scientific Track: 4th ISOFAR Scientific Conference
Related Links:http://www.systems-comparison.fibl.org/
Deposited By: Andres, Christian
ID Code:23660
Deposited On:27 Oct 2014 15:05
Last Modified:05 Nov 2014 10:00
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:urn:nbn:de:gbv:253-201407-dn053621-1

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