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The Public and Private Benefits from Organic Farming in Pakistan

Muhammad Iftikhar ul Husnain and Muhammad Khan

No 100, Working papers from The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics

Abstract: Wheat and Rice are major crops grown in Pakistan. This paper compares mean differences in the productivity and profitability of organic and conventional farms that grow these crops based on primary data collected from 444 farms. We find that growing organic crops is atleast as profitable as conventional crops because of lower input costs and higher output prices. Overall, per hectare input costs are 20% and 10% lower in organic wheat and rice farms relative to their conventional counterparts. These lower costs, however, are likely to be related to the lower yields associated with organic farms. Soils data show that the availability of nutrients such as Potassium, Phosphorous and Nitrogen is significantly higher in organic fields relative to conventional fields. Thus, organic farms tend to better conserve soil fertility and system stability than conventional farms. Based on these private and public benefits, we argue that organic agriculture should be encouraged through reductions in subsidies for conventional farming and more careful zoning and market development. Farmerâ€TMs adoption of commercial organic farming, however, will largely depend on how demand for organically farmed food continues to grow in Pakistan.

Keywords: Pakistan; Organic Farming; Wheat; Rice; Profits; Soil Nutrients (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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