Organic vs conventional: the winner is organic (IT)


Organic agriculture should not be ashamed of its economic performances. On the contrary: the study "Economic actors and the environment", published by the INSEE, the French Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques indicates, in three sectors of activity - wine, horticulture and milk production - that organic farmers have better results than their conventional counterparts in terms of income. This point of view is all the more interesting as the subject is still little discussed. The challenge is to have a sufficiently representative sample so to ensure a correct analysis. The institute has chosen to work on 2013 data, focusing on three productions where the percentage of organic farms is significant: horticulture (11%), viticulture (6%) and cow's milk (3%). These products are also the most popular in the consumer basket: the sample selected by INSEE includes 1,800 organic farms, which were compared to 28,000 "conventional" holdings. Among these, organic winemakers have an average turnover of 17,000 euros per hectare, 46% more than conventional. A gap that can be explained primarily by a better valorisation of organic wines, with higher prices ranging from 10% to 40%, but also by a stronger presence in the areas of protected denomination of origin (PDO). Despite the one and a half higher staff costs, the gross operating result is on average of 6,400 euros per hectare, compared to that of the conventional winemakers which reaches 3,700 euros. In horticulture, the turnover of organic producers is on average lower than that of their conventional counterparts (10,900 euros, compared with 12,500 euros per hectare), but the gross operating result is higher (3,300 euros against 2,500 euros per hectare). The fact of using less fertilizers and pesticides reduces the bill. Likewise, the lower cost of feed and a better valorisation of the price of milk (+18%) make it possible to offset the difference in turnover of organic milk producers, despite a decrease of around a quarter of the productivity. Organic farming aid, calculated per hectare, also supports organic breeders. As a result, their gross operating result is, on average, 20% higher than their conventional counterparts. Another element that finally explains the best economic performance of 'green' farms is a more extended use (90% of vegetable growers and 70% of organic winemakers) of the short supply chain to market their products.

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Source: Monde Economie


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