Almond farm profitability under agroecological management in south-eastern Spain: Accounting for externalities and opportunity costs

V.De Leijster, R.W.Verburg, M.J.Santos, M.J.Wassen, M.Martínez-Mena, J.de Vente, P.A.Verweij

This research compared the profitability of regenerative (agroecological) almond orchards to conventional almond orchards. Additionally, the influence of price premiums (Almendrehesa’s strategy), greening subsidies (for example by the EU), and payments for ecosystem services (erosion control and carbon stock) on the profitability of regenerative almond farms were modelled.

It was found that compost application is financially most promising and results in higher profitability than conventional management. The use of vegetation covers is profitable, but less than conventional management. Price premiums and subsidies can be used to compensate for the income gap in vegetation covers, but this will be more costly than what is currently paid. Payments for carbon and erosion control are not sufficient in this region/crop to compensate for the income gap of vegetation covers.

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2 replies on "Regenerative or conventional almonds, which is more profitable?"

  1. Vincent de Leijster et al have done some excellent research on the economic performance of conventional versus regeneratively grown almonds 👌

  2. I had a quick read and one thing strikes me most: these evaluations are made under a series of assumptions which may indeed hold true in the specific case, but will not necessarily be the same in different contexts and in different times (e.g. I am sure now costs of mechanical operations have surged due to increased fuel costs). In order to affirm that PES cannot compensate for increased operation costs, there should be a real market for ecosystem services, which does not exist for most ecosystem services. As for carbon, the prices of the CO2teq, the standard measure in this field, has an incredibly growing price, therefore the price that is used there, of 5€ on the voluntary markets, seems to be referred to a 2017 value, which is far too old (and too low) to be reliable nowadays. Even the ETS price is not representative, both because ETS prices are higher now, and because the ETS is not a free market where the single famer can enter independently.
    What strikes me is that after a paper like that is published, many would read just the title and abstract, and come to the very wrong conclusion that carbon credits aren’t worth exploring, while they represent an increasingly interesting source of income, if pursued by a competent lead.
    Particularly interesting are the perspectives of credits deriving from the permanent carbon removal such as biochar, and credits that allow for the full story to be told rather than focusing on the sole amount of CO2 captured.
    This is what BlockCO2 is for, the carbon credit system we are about to launch: https://www.aichio20.it/block-co2/

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