In 2002, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization initiated the Globally Important Agriculture Heritage Systems conservation program. Agricultural organic certification, based on traditional environmentally friendly technology, increases farmer income and encourages traditional agricultural heritage. However, during the organic conversion period, farmer income cannot be guaranteed; this period is also a bottleneck for heritage conservation via organic certification. Based on experiences at the Honghe Hani rice terrace system in Yunnan, China, we calculated and compared inputs and outputs of traditional and modern systems during organic conversion and developed a calculation method for determining opportunity costs of agricultural production. We found that the stability of farmer income during conversion can be guaranteed by setting the protective purchasing price at 6.93 CNY/kg, thereby achieving the goal of dynamic conservation of agricultural heritage systems.
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