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Conventionalization of Organic Farms in Germany: An Empirical Investigation Based on a Composite Indicator Approach

Claudia Seidel (), Thomas Heckelei and Sebastian Lakner
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Claudia Seidel: Institute for Food and Resource Economics, University of Bonn, Nussallee 21, D-53115 Bonn, Germany

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 10, 1-16

Abstract: The term “conventionalization” of organic agriculture was created to depict the controversially discussed phenomenon that organic agriculture departs from the core organic principles on which it is based. We present an empirical, index-based approach to investigate developments of organic farming practices towards conventionalization. An index of conventionalization can be used as a monitoring tool to support policymakers to further develop agricultural regulations. We calculate composite indicators for three farm types: farms specialized on crop production, farms specialized on animal husbandry, and mixed farms. Principal component analysis serves to derive objective weights based on the correlations between indicators which then allow a linear aggregation to the composite indicator. Results show that developments towards conventionalization of the whole organic farming sector cannot be detected for German farms between 2000 and 2009. Therefore, we do not see the necessity for changes in regulation of the organic sector with regard to conventionalization.

Keywords: organic agriculture; conventionalization; index; composite indicator; principal component analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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