Comparative analysis on environmental and economic performance of agricultural cooperatives and smallholder farmers: The case of grape production in Hebei, China

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Date: Jan. 25, 2021
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 1)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Case study
Length: 8,266 words
Lexile Measure: 1550L

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Abstract :

Agricultural modernization and intensification have been regarded as a significant way to support agricultural development and improve farm income in China. Agricultural cooperatives have played an important role in promoting the modernization and intensification of Chinese agricultural sector. Given the increasing concerns about environmental harm, however, it still remains unclear whether and the extent to which agricultural cooperatives contributes to reducing environmental impacts of agricultural production. Hence, this study performed an environmental evaluation using life cycle assessment for three different organization forms of grape production in Changli County, Hebei Province, China: smallholder farmers, farmer-owned cooperatives and investor-owned firm-led cooperatives. Then the results of life cycle assessment were monetarized and cost benefit analysis was used to evaluate the economic performance of these three organization forms of grape production. The results demonstrate that investor-owned firm-led cooperatives present an overall improvement in environmental and economic performance with the lowest weighted environmental index (integrating all impact categories into a single score), the highest net profit and the highest total net benefit. The results also show a difference in potential improvement in environmental impacts and economic returns between cooperatives and smallholder farmers. Additionally, the production and application of organic and chemical fertilizer and pesticide have been identified as major contributors to total environmental damage.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A649640715