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New Ph.D. thesis at FiBL shows organic farming can be an economically efficient instrument for achieving environmental policy targets

Christian SchaderoftheFiBLSocio-economicsgrouprecentlycompletedhis Ph.D. thesisoncost-effectivenessoforganicfarmingforachievingenvironmentalpolicytargets in Switzerland.

Thequestionwhetheritiseconomicallyefficienttopursueenvironmentalpolicytargetsusingareasupportpaymentsfororganicfarmingishighly relevant forpolicy-making.

Using a sectorrepresentativeeconomicfarmgroupmodelandlifecycleassessmentdata, the Ph.D. thesiscalculatedtheimpactoforganicfarmingon fossil energyuse, biodiversity, nitrogenandphosphoruseutrophicationforSwitzerland.

These environmentalimpactsaredirectlyrelatedtotheamountofpublicexpenditure (directpayments) given to organic farms in Switzerland. This cost-effectiveness figure was then compared to targeted agri-environmental instruments.

The thesis concluded that supporting organic farming via direct payments can be an efficient means for achieving environmental targets.

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