Inderscience Publishers

Conflicting farmers' objectives and environmental policies: the case of a Mediterranean farm

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In dry land areas of the Mediterranean region, farmers' decisions are particularly difficult due to irregular rainfall. Yield risk, soil erosion and desertification are important problems. Decision-making behaviour of farmers is supposed to incorporate a particular concern in the adoption of strategies to decrease income variability, to conserve soil and to guarantee a comfortable level of income. Using a multi-criteria methodology, this article analyses the importance of various objectives in the decision-making process of farmers in the Mediterranean region. Simultaneously, the effect of the agri-environmental policy measures is evaluated when farmers maximise utility and when they maximise profit. These effects on soil erosion are also evaluated. The end of the agri-environmental measures changes the dry land crop activities to natural pastures, increasing livestock and the level of erosion. The agri-environmental measures are effective in maintaining the traditional agricultural systems, and in promoting the adoption of soil conservation tillage techniques.

Keywords: agri-environmental policies, dry land agriculture, farmers objectives, environmental policy, Mediterranean farming, multi-criteria decision making, MCDM, yield risk, soil erosion, soil conservation tillage

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