Options for introducing other economic instruments for adaptation, nature, landscape and biodiversity conservation
Survey respondents among Czech farmers preferred practice-based agri-environmental contracts, i.e. payment per hectare if certain procedures are followed, and on the contrary, they preferred the status quo (i.e. no contract) compared to a result-based contract.
The results of a study on farmers’ preferences for agri-environmental contracts to conserve biodiversity on arable land are summarised in a study created by SEEPIA researchers.
A survey was carried out among farmers in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic and a total of 1 835 respondents were surveyed. In the Czech Republic 98 farmers completed the questionnaire. Data collection was carried out through farmers’ associations and farmers were contacted on the basis of a contact list provided by researchers from Charles University. The survey was carried out in particular to answer the question whether farmers prefer a payment per hectare if certain procedures are followed (the current scheme in the Czech Republic, for example) or a payment based on results (expertly measured biodiversity on arable land and payment received on this basis).
Not only the study includes findings on farmers’ motivations to participate in agri-environmental measures in general (from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland), but it also allows a comparison of farmers from different countries. The results of the work can have a direct impact on the formulation of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, as the establishment of appropriate, well-balanced contracts can lead to a more environmentally friendly use of land. Moreover, properly designed economic support instruments can ensure the sustainability of biodiverse agriculture and increase their effectiveness.
Farmers in all the surveyed countries preferred payment for following certain procedures to payment for results or no payment at all. The most important factor for contract attractiveness was the associated payment – the higher the payment, the more attractive the contract. However, there are noticeable differences between former Eastern Bloc countries and Western countries. While in Germany and the Netherlands farmers would not resist payment for results, in the Czech Republic and Poland farmers were very reluctant to this type of payment and would prefer no commitment. Respondents from the Czech Republic always showed relatively more extreme values than respondents from the other countries – they would rather not introduce more practices in a performance-based contract, would expect higher payments and would not expect any higher effect of the introduced measures. Furthermore, in contrast to the whole sample of respondents, the choice of Czech farmers was not influenced by the amount of the bonus payment.
The full study is available (only in Czech) here.
Text: Zuzana Rajchlová