Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Evaluation of Technological, Economic and Social Indicators of Different Farming Practices in Lithuania

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Evaluation of Technological, Economic and Social Indicators of Different Farming Practices in Lithuania

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

Current trends in agriculture development are focused not only on economic performance, but also on the consequences of corporate activities for the environment and sustainabality (Rajnoha, Lesníkova, 2016; Balas, 2014; Czyżewski, Smędzik-Ambroży, 2015).

In terms of sustainability there are two main farming practices in Lithuania being practiced in recent years: organic and integrated farming. Organic farming encourages the increasing supply of valuable crop production, protecting biodiversity, reducing environmental pollution, and improving soil quality. Integrated farming practice aims to encourage farmers who grow fruits, berries and vegetables, to introduce environmentally friendly production techniques so that to reduce environmental pollution (Rural Development Programme, 2017). Both these farming practices are important for consumers because they provide high-quality raw material for food industry. But both agricultural producers and policy-makers raise the question which of these farming practices is more relevant in terms of sustainability. Thus, a research problem emerges concerning how to evaluate, determine and compare technological, economic and social indicators of organic and integrated farming practices.

The practical relevance of this article is that it is pursuing to adopt research-grounded policy decisions. Therefore, it is essential to develop and apply the assessment methodology based on quantitative and qualitative methods, leading to further assessment of the potential impacts from organic and integrated farming practices.

The objective of this article is to create the methodology and evaluate the system of indicators, which would enable answering the question which farming practice has more advantages: organic or integrated? Intense competition is being currently observed between these sectors in agriculture. It is worth also noting that the economic issues behind comparing the farming practices in Lithuania are yet not explored.

The object of this research is sustainable farming practices.

Referring to the economy of ecosystems and the results of the research, considering agricultural production technologies and the requirements to organic and integrated farming practices, an integrated set of data was compiled, covering technological, economic and environmental indicators. Multi-criteria analysis methods were used to achieve the objective posed in this article.

1.Literature review

Scientific discussion concerning the most appropriate farming practices in terms of sustainability has become significant among policy decision makers and practitioners in recent years. Organic farming practices is well known and considered as a promising option to sustain both agriculture productivity and environment (Delmotte et al., 2016; Jouzi et al., 2016; Kirchmann et al., 2016; Tasca, 2017; Balezentis, 2014). Organic farming offers innovative conservation agriculture principles, including minimal soil disturbance (reduced tillage, no-tillage, green manures), permanent soil cover and long crop rotation mean duration of six years (Peigne et al., 2016). This helps to reduce use of mineral fertilizers, control weeds without the use of herbicides, without losses of yield. Organic farming is more energy efficient compare to conventional almost for all types of crops when expressed on a unit of area. Results are more variable per unit of product because of lower organic yields (Smith et al., 2015). Although organic agriculture produces lower yields than conventional agriculture, it better unites human health, environment and socioeconomic objectives than conventional farming practice (Crowder, Reganold, 2015; Štreimikiene, Bilan, 2015).

The evaluation of the economic and environmental trade-offs between different farming practices revealed that the gross margins of organic farming practices were found to be higher than the corresponding conventional farming practices gross margins. …

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