Study: can the adoption of protected cultivation facilities affect farm sustainability?

Given the increasing threat of climate change to agriculture, determining how to achieve farm sustainability is important for researchers and policymakers. Among others, protected cultivation has been proposed as a possible adaptive solution at the farm level.

This study contributes to this research topic by quantifying the effects of the use of protected cultivation facilities on-farm sustainability. In contrast to previous studies that relied on small-scale random surveys, a population-based sample of fruit, flower, and vegetable farms was drawn from the Agricultural Census Survey in Taiwan. Propensity score matching, inverse probability weighting, and inverse probability weighting regression adjustment methods were applied. Empirical results show that the use of protected cultivation facilities increases farm profit by 68–73%, other things being equal.

This finding is persistent when farms suffer from disaster shocks. Moreover, the changes in farm labor use can be seen as a mechanism behind the positive effect of the protected cultivation facility use on-farm profit. The findings suggest that agricultural authorities can consider subsidizing farms to increase the adoption of protected cultivation facilities to mitigate the risks resulting from natural disaster shocks.

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