A Model for Pre-Estimation of Production of Organic Cotton in Iran; Case Study of Khorasan Province
Ali Reza Koocheki
Hoda Zare Mirakabad
Organic farming and organic production methods have
got much importance in agriculture not only from environmental point of
view but also from economic and social stand points; in this research
keeping in mind this significance of organic farming an applied model
is presented to estimate the cotton production in organic farms of Khorasan
province, Iran. Production of organic cotton is obtained through surveys
of 241 farms, partial elasticity of production of different inputs were
derived from Cobb-Douglass production function. The results revealed that
the cotton production decreased by 34.2% when the chemical factors were
eliminated. The drop off yield in organic fields in large farms (more
than 10 ha) is higher than small (less than 5 ha) and medium (5 to 10
ha) size farms due to uses more chemicals and fertilizers. The yield is
1.60 and 1.34 (t ha-1) for insured and non-insured farms, respectively.
Also, the maximum yield in customary system is for mild region (3.044
t ha-1), while the minimum is in warm region (1.48 t ha-1).
Finally, planning for financial support (subsidy), extension, providing
non-chemical inputs to compensate the related production loss and this
approach for a better planning and evaluating the organic products are
Organic farming is one of several approaches to sustainable agriculture
(Bateman, 1993; Koocheki et al., 1997; Dalgaard et
al., 2001; Rigby and Cáceres, 2001; Koocheki, 2004; Hole
et al., 2005; Lund, 2006; Widmer et al., 2007).
The organic agriculture can effect environment and help in conservation
of non-renewable resources as well as improving food quality (Dehghanian
et al., 1996; Clark et al., 1999; Delate and
Cambardella, 2002; El-Hage Scialabba and Hattam, 2002; Bengtsson et
al., 2005). Many countries recognized the potential agricultural
benefits and effort to expand the area under organic practices through
direct financial supports to farmers or indirectly via research and expansion
or providing market infrastructure for marketing of organic products (Clark
et al., 1999; Entz et al., 1999; Brumfield
et al., 2000). Nowadays, the organic production and will
to transfer to organic practices is rapidly expanding among European farmers
The main question which is faced by organic farmers and those who wish
to shift to organic farming is that whether organic farming is profitable
or not? Although some of organic farmers are motivated by economic objectives
most of them are inspired by more than economic intentions, their aim
is to optimize land, animal and plant interactions, preserve natural nutrient
and energy flows and enhance biodiversity, all of which contribute to
sustainable agriculture (Padel, 1994a; Dehghanian et al., 1996;
Delate, 2002; Scialabba, 2003; Bengtsson et al., 2005; Fuller et
al., 2005; Lampkin et al., 1987; Eyhorn et al., 2007;
Gabriel and Tscharntke, 2007). The problem with economic appraisal of
organic farming is that appraisal is done on the basis of individual benefits
and not on the basis of social and environmental benefits (Hanson et
al., 1997; Gunnarsson and Hansson, 2004). This resulted in lack of
knowledge on the part of farmers who potentially wish to shift to organic
practices. Unfortunately, while appraising organic farming methods environmental
impacts as well as social and economic effects on rural life and community
which makes organic farming a viable option is not taken in to account
properly (Lohr, 1998; Stolze et al., 2000; Pimentel et al.,
2005; Qadir et al., 2007; Niggli et al., 2007).
Another reason which makes the organic farming a viable option is expansion
of international market for organic products (Murphy, 1992; Midmore, 1993;
Padel, 1994a). Those countries which due to different reasons have no
proper and well developed market for organic products and hence no demand
for such type of products exists but possibility of production of this
type of products are at hand enjoy comparative advantage in production
of organic products. Therefore, in such type of countries organic farming
can be branded as a source of exports and foreign exchange earning.
However, as many organic farms supplying the domestic market have to
develop their own marketing channel and process the product, this may
mean more local employment in rural areas, as well as potential for eco-tourism
(El-Hage Scialabba and Hattam, 2002; Fuller et al., 2005; Gabriel
and Tscharntke, 2007).
Moreover, most of the farmers recognized that with shifting to organic
farming and use of less chemical inputs agriculture becomes more striking
as it is going to be more synchronized with environment, nature and consumer`s
taste and preference which in the long run can resulted economic, social
and cultural factors in rural society change for better which can bring
about more job and life satisfaction (Bateman, 1993; Padel, 1994a, b;
Niggli et al., 2007). Clark et al. (1999) compared the conventional
system to the organic systems for tomato, safflower, maize and bean products
in an agricultural systems project. They concluded that the yields of
the organic products and were comparable even higher than conventional
The studies related to change in yield through shifting from conventional
agriculture to organic farming do not show stable results because these
results change depending on product and location. Furthermore, while investments,
research and development efforts are more focused on conventional agriculture
rather than organic farming comparing these two systems from stand point
of yield is not so sensible (Koocheki et al., 1997; Koocheki, 2004).
However, many of studies revealed that yield experiences significant decrease
during transition period (1-4 years) and then, it will increase to primary
level or even more after transition period (Dobbs and Smolik, 1996; Entz
et al., 1999; Brumfield et al., 2000; Delate et al.,
2001; El-Hage Scialabba and Hattam, 2002; Gunnarsson and Hansson, 2004;
Sartori et al., 2005). These studies showed that yield deceasing
of organic products in transition period is about 16.7 to 50%.
Khorasan province is one of the most important cotton production centres
of Iran. With increasing importance of organic production systems as due
to high cost it is not possible to examine different aspects of organic
farming via greenhouse research in this research an endeavour is made
to develop a model to estimate yield reduction in real farm situation
due to shift from conventional agriculture to organic farming practices.
As the estimation of parameters of this model is done under the real farm
situation, the results are more accurate than greenhouse experiments results
then, we compare organic and conventional cotton in three climate regions,
two group of insured and non-insured farms and three size of farms.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
In this research, a model has developed to estimate the organic cotton
productions. In this research emphasise is more on methodology rather
than results. Since organic agriculture is a production system in which
there is no usage of chemicals, pesticides as well as other regulators
(Koocheki, 2004). In order to estimate the organic production of cotton
there is need to purge the chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides
effects from production function. For this propose at first a Cobb-Douglas
production function (1) is estimated:
Where, Ycp, X1, X2, X3, X4,
X5, X6, X7, X8, A, u, αi
are cotton production, labor (person-day), acreage (ha), seed (kg), Water
(number of irrigation rotatio.n), chemical fertilizers (kg), pesticides
(L), manure (t), machinery (h), coefficient of technology, random error
term and parameters, respectively.
The factor elasticities (αi) derived from estimation
of production function. Value of factor elasticity revealed the amount
of influence that specific factor has on production. Therefore, with purging
the portion related to chemical factors from present production function
(purifying the production) we can obtain cotton organic production of
cotton. As on the basis of definition, the organic production will derived
via washing out the chemical influences.
Where, Efe, Epe, Yop and Ycp
are the chemical fertilizers elasticity, pesticides elasticity, organic
production and conventional production, respectively. In this way, the
organic production can be calculated by using the developed model. And
also, the percentage of production reduction (in organic situation) is
computable via following formula:
Data were collected via a stratified random sampling. The cross-sectional
data were gathered from 241 cotton farmers in Khorasan (North, South and
Razavi) provinces on 2004-2005.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Table 1 shows the results of Khorasan cotton production
function. The variables X1 (labor), X5 (chemical
fertilizers), X6 (chemical pesticides and herbicides) and X7
(manure) are statistically significant. The coefficient of determination
(R2) reveals that 35.6% of variation in cotton production can
be explained by labor, chemicals and manure factors. The factor elasticity
for labor, acreage, seed, water, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, machinery
and manure are 0.0718, 0.079, 0.079, 0.125, 0.152, 0.235, 0.107, 0.052
and 0.038, respectively. The estimated elasticities show that chemical
fertilizer has maximum and the manure has minimum elasticity. Also, the
farmers use labor, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and manure factors
in second stage of production function.
The results show that the yield of organic cotton and conventional one
are 1.578 and 2.412 ton ha-1, respectively (Table
Comparing these two figures point toward a 34.2% decline in production
of organic cotton. This result is comparable with findings of many researchers
about yield deceasing of organic products in transition period is about
16.7 to 50% period (Dobbs and Smolik, 1996; Entz et al., 1999;
Brumfield et al., 2000; Delate et al., 2001; El-Hage Scialabba
and Hattam, 2002; Gunnarsson and Hansson, 2004; Sartori et al.,
2005). However, we shall note that in most of the cases of shift from
conventional agriculture to organic farming farmers have experienced a
1 to 4 years yield reduction phase which is known as transition phase
during which soil will increase its biological activities from its initial
low level and consequently yield starts to grow again.
In the next stage, production of organic and conventional cotton and
percentage of decrease in production of organic cotton on the basis of
acreage, climate and insurance were compared with each other.
Table 3 revealed that the maximum conventional cotton
yield with 1.64 ton is for large scale (more than 10 ha). Also, the percentage
reduction for the organic cotton yield in small (less than 5 ha), medium
(5-10 ha) and large (more than 10 ha) scale is 34.20, 34.17 and 34.27,
respectively. The maximum value is in large scale due to uses more chemicals
According to Table 4, the maximum yield in customary
system is for mild region (3.044 t ha-1), while the minimum
is warm region (1.48 t ha-1).
The results revealed that the yield will be 1.60 and 1.34 t ha-1
for insured and non-insured farms, respectively. The percentage of the
reduction is about 16% in each group. As a result, the mean cotton yield
in organic customary cases is higher than non-insured cases (Table
||Results of Khorasan cotton production function regression
|*: Significant in %1 level, ***: Significant in %10
||Decreasing cotton production in organic case
||The organic and conventional cotton yield in acreage
||The organic and conventional cotton yield in climatic
||The organic and conventional cotton yield in insurance
In next stage, the manure elasticity is increased as a scenario to determine
how increase the cotton production with respect to increase the manure
share in production. Table 6 revealed the simulation
results due to increasing the manure share in cotton production to substitute
by chemical fertilizers. On this basis, the manure significant affects
on cotton production, but the average production won`t be considerable
by increasing in manure elasticity. As a result, the organic and customary
productions are the same whereas the manure elasticity increases by 0.53.
||Simulation an increase share of manure in cotton production
The next point is that the Iranian cotton production is about 85000 ton.
While there is 110000-115000 ton cotton demand from textile industry.
Thus, country faced with 30000-35000 ton cotton deficit. By shifting to
organic system of production, the total cotton production will be 55930000
ton which shows a decrease of 34.2% from initial level of production that
means an annual shortage of 54000-59000. Regarding to a 40000 ton cotton
inventory, we need to import 15000-20000 ton cotton for covering the factories`
With respect to results, supporting the farmers in primary stage for
organic agriculture (transition phase); through credit facilities and
extension services, etc will encourage farmers to shift to organic products
and decrease imports. Therefore, we suggest planning for financial support
for example subsidy payment for organic cotton in transition period, extension
and providing non-chemical factors to compensate the related production
loss. And also, suggest this approach use for a better planning and evaluating
the organic products.
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