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National organic action plans and organic farmland area growth in Europe

Rees, Charles; Grovermann, Christian and Finger, Robert (2023) National organic action plans and organic farmland area growth in Europe. Food Policy, 121 (102531), pp. 1-13.

[thumbnail of rees-etal-2023-FoodPolicy-Vol121-102531-p1-13.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030691922300129X


The expansion of organic agricultural production methods has been tendered as a critical factor in the development of a sustainable global food system. The European Union has led efforts to expand organic farming, with a current target share of 25% organic farmland area by 2030 through the Farm-to-Fork strategy. Many member states have set organic area targets through the initiation of organic action plans, but systematic, quantitative, empirical research into the effectiveness of such organic policies is lacking. This study analyses the effect of four different national organic action plans - the 1st French Organic Action Plan (2008 to 2012), the 2nd Swedish Organic Action Plan (2006 to 2010), the 2nd Czech Organic Action Plan (2011 to 2015) and the 5th Austria Organic Action Plan (2011 to 2013) - on organic farmland area extent. This was achieved using a balanced country-level panel dataset consisting of 26 OECD states between 2001 and 2019 (N = 494). The synthetic control method was applied systematically to predict the counterfactual organic area growth paths, enabling the quantification of the treatment effects for the selected action plans. The model specifications were vigorously tested with leave-out-one robustness tests and in-space placebo tests. The results indicated robust, large, positive and significant effects for the French and Swedish organic action plans on organic farmland area. However, the Czech and Austrian plans were found to be ineffectual. Whilst organic action plans appear useful agenda-setting tools, caution is advised in relying on them to produce consistent results, particularly if numerous plans have been previously implemented and the organic area share is already high. This finding is also likely indicative of decreasing marginal returns to action plans. A deeper understanding of the effectiveness of previously implemented plans is critical for the optimisation of future interventions.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Synthetic control method, Organic farming, Agricultural policy, Impact assessment, OrganicTargets4EU, Abacus, FiBL35230
Agrovoc keywords:
organic farming -> organic agriculture
agricultural policies
impact assessment
Subjects: Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Europe
Research affiliation: Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Agri-food policy > Policy analysis
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Agri-food policy > Policy development
Related Links:https://www.fibl.org/en/themes/projectdatabase/projectitem/project/2119
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:51884
Deposited On:03 Nov 2023 12:38
Last Modified:03 Nov 2023 12:38
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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