ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark


Economic performances (1992-94) of organic and conventional farms in Umbria, Italy. W14

Santucci, Fabio M.

Istituto di Economia e Politica Agraria, Borgo XX Giugno 74, 06121
Perugia, Italia. Email IEPA@UNIPG.IT. Member of GRAB-IT »Gruppo di Ricerca
in Agricoltura biologica - Italia«.

Since the '70s, a few »foreigners« established organic farms in Umbria. They were looking for alternative styles of living, on areas where pollution was minimal and land values allowed to purchase a farm, generally abandoned by previous occupants. In 1989, there were 46 organic farmers, whose number had grown to 69 in 1991. Today about 300 farmers have applied for the benefits of the Regulation 2078/92/EC. The arable land has increased from 653 hectares in 1992 to 2,305 in 1995.
The methodology follows the procedures used by the EC-FADN. The average technical and economic ratios of 19 organic farms are confronted with the EC-FADN databank, that contains about 900 farms. The zones are: A: fertile flatland, irrigated, gentle hills, intensive arable crops; B: hills with olive groves, vinyards, wheat, barley, sunflower and fodder crops; C: hills and mountains, less olive groves, lower yields, marginal plots abandoned, pastures and woodlands.
Our 19 farms show contradictory figures, that do not allow any generalization. Some are performing better year after year, whereas other ones have mixed results. The premium price is not always recognized. In zone A, the intensive and highly subsidized conventional agriculture has a output/ha value much higher (+200%) than OF; in zone B the difference decreases to +56%, whereas in the zone C, OF shows much higher value of the output (+76%). The NFI/f AWU ratio and the Return to labour/f AWU ratio of OF were generally better than in the EC-FADN farms, due to higher level of internal resources (land, capital and labour).
Organic farming is a valid alternative for marginal areas and this can become true also in more fertile areas, once the distortions created by the present agrarian policy fade away.
Let's be happy this year !!!