Vol.8 No.2 (2013)

Economics of organic versus chemical farming for three crops in Andhra Pradesh, India

P. Sri Krishna Sudheer

To tackle the challenge of food grain production and food security, chemical agriculture advocates call for the continuing or higher use of chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. However, the continuous use and higher reliance on these inputs can lead to a reduction in crop productivity, deterioration in the quality of natural resources and the eco-system. Organic farming offers a solution for sustainable agricultural growth and safeguarding the ecosystem. A conversion from chemical farming to organic farming can be a lengthy process, and during its course the farmer may incur a loss in income. The farmer will switch over only when he is convinced that in the long run, the benefits from organic farming are more than from chemical farming. A study of the economics of organic versus chemical farming may help policy makers to take appropriate measures for the spread of organic farming, which in turn has a bearing on the incomes of farmers, health conditions of the people and the environment. The present study compared the economics of organic farmers (N=350) and chemical farmers (N=200) for three crops, paddy, redgram, and groundnuts, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, a south eastern coastal state of India. It was found that organic farmers are earning a gross income of 5%, 10% and 7% more compared to the chemical farmers of paddy, redgram and groundnut, respectively, and with lower input costs the profits earned by the organic farmers are higher by 37%, 33% and 59% for the selected crops respectively. Organic farming is generally more profitable in terms of financial costs and returns than chemical farming, irrespective of the crop or the size of farm (the exceptions being small redgram farms and large goundnut farms). An analysis of the farmers' perception of organic farming reveals that electronic media (television) is the prime motivator for farmers to adopt organic practices. Farmers believed that organic farming improves soil fertility and their profits in the long run.

Key words: Organic farming, conventional farming, organic agriculture, organic
certification, eco-system, sustainable agriculture, paddy, redgram, groundnuts.


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Author Contact

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tuljapur Campus, Tuljapur, Maharastra, India



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