Productivity of organic and conventional agriculture – a common technology analysis
The raging debate on organic versus conventional agriculture, and with regard to the aspect of productivity in particular, is far from conclusive. In this analysis, we explore the productivity comparison further through the evaluation of a common production technology used in 74 countries around the world, over the period 2005 to 2014. We found conventional agriculture to be more productive than organic agriculture. Whilst productivity of conventional agriculture is exponentially rising, that of organic is declining, although it has a quadratic growth path. For every hectare of conventional agricultural land given up, only 0.54 hectares of organic land area is substituted. Based on an elasticity of substitution of 0.36, the isoquant is relatively vertical; therefore, much more conventional lands need to be substituted with an organic land area. Research into new and improved fertilising and pest control methods is essential as positive developments there would have a significant impact on organic land productivity.