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Wageningen University (2020)

Olive farmers’ compliance to soil-erosion-control policies in the Protected Designation of Origin Estepa

Flamand, Iris

Titre : Olive farmers’ compliance to soil-erosion-control policies in the Protected Designation of Origin Estepa

Auteur : Flamand, Iris

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) Environmental Systems Analysis 2020

Résumé partiel
Poor management of agricultural systems and climatic factors cause soil erosion in Europe. This environmental problem is large in mediterranean countries, like Spain and especially olive groves are highly vulnerable to soil erosion. Most olive oil in Spain is produced in Andalusia. The Andalusian landscape is typified by bare soils and these are at risk due to total weed removal and irrigation systems combined with high tree densities. These soil-erosion problems should be controlled by agri-environmental measures (AEMs) of European Commission’s Common Agricultural Policy, which aim to control and reduce the soil erosion effects. My study contributes to the Commission’s initiative to map the current environmental policies’ adoption in each member state. In Andalusia, olive farmers already voluntarily adopted organic and integrated farming practices aimed at the soil erosion control in return for subsidies. These two sustainable-farming systems could be an example for other Spanish olive farmers, since AEMs are not always prioritized by conventional olive farmers. I analyzed the compliance of soil-erosion-control measures within organic and integrated olive farming in Andalusia. Specifically, adoption rates of environmental measures were quantified and external factors that affect the adoption of those measures by olive farmers in the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Estepa, were identified. The adoption rates were analyzed to determine compliance of AEMs and an Exploratory Factor Analysis was combined with a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to identify the farmers’ socio-economic and institutional factors that explain differences in adoption rates. I considered different agricultural practices to determine compliance rates which were measured with a survey among 21 organic and integrated olive farmers. The results show that from the 21 farmers, 20 were integrated farmers. Almost threequarters of the integrated farmers complied with the contractual regulations and all applied at least one soil-erosion-control measure. Relatively high adoption rates were found for cover crop use. The PCA results show that neighboring farmers’ practices and insufficient erosion-control information negatively affect compliance rates. Besides, attention should be paid to farmers with off-farm activities as their major income source because they tend to not apply soil-erosion-control measures. The recent COVID-19 restrictions limited the number of survey respondents and future research should focus on the factors that I considered in my study, and also perform in-depth interviews with the olive farmers to gain a more complete perspective. Regardless of the statistical significance of my results and having few survey respondents, I found strong and realistic correlations between considered external factors and adoption rates of cover crops and tillage directions.

Mots Clés : olive groves, soil erosion, soil conservation practices, integrated farming, organic farming, Common Agricultural Policy


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