The socio-economic impacts of organic and conventional olive growing in Italy


Olive growing is the most important agricultural activity in Italy, representing, in 2010, 56% of Italian farms and 76% of land used for permanent crops. Producing high-quality products, such as healthy and socially responsible produces, while containing costs, is the current market challenge, and evaluation tools are of utmost importance to help farmers shaping management practices to obtain competitive prod-ucts. This study applies Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and social Life Cycle Assessment (sLCA) as evaluation tools to compare the socio-economic impacts of organic and conventional farming systems of the Italian olive growing. Results showed a similar level of economic profitability in both scenarios, due to the public subsidies for organic farming, which balanced higher production costs. From a social point of view, some differences have been highlighted: organic farming would be suitable not only to increase incomes but also to improve the occupational health of the people involved.

Keywords: Olive growing sustainability, Italy, Life Cycle Costing, Social Life Cycle Assessment, so-cio-economic evaluation.