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, 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.