What makes a citrus farmer go organic? Empirical evidence from Spanish citrus farming

M. Beltrán-Esteve, Andrés J Picazo-Tadeo, E. Reig-Martínez


Organic farming is increasing its share of total world food output and receiving grow-ing support from policymakers concerned with agricultural sustainability issues. This paper studies the characteristics of citrus farmers in the Spanish region of Valencia that affect their probability of becoming organic farmers. A fair understanding of these characteristics may help policymakers improve the design of agricultural policies aimed at supporting organic citrus practices. As regards the methodology, a probit model is estimated with information from a sample of conventional and organic citrus farmers obtained from a survey designed for a larger research project aimed at analysing Valencian citrus farming. Our main finding is that university education and agricultural professional training both increase the probability of becoming an organic farmer. Conversely, older farmers, farmers selling their production to foreign markets and those with larger farms and/or managing family farms are less likely to adopt organic citrus farming. The main policy implication is that, in order to support organic citrus production, more attention needs to be paid to improving farmers’ technical training and education.


Citrus farming; education and professional training; organic versus conventional production; probit estimation; Spain

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2012104-2957