Next Article in Journal
Food Swamps and Poor Dietary Diversity: Longwave Development Implications in Southern African Cities
Previous Article in Journal
Exploring the Role of Mountain Origin and Autochthonous Breed on Urban Consumers’ Acceptability
 
 
Article
Peer-Review Record

Does Organic Farming Provide a Viable Alternative for Smallholder Rice Farmers in India?

Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4424; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124424
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Reviewer 4: Anonymous
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4424; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124424
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

I read the manuscript entitled “Does Organic Farming Provide A Viable Alternative for Smallholder Rice Farmers in India?”, submitted to Sustainability. In my opinion, it is acceptable as is. Topic is worth of investigation, and the manuscript is well written. Results are clearly presented.

However, there are minor issues :

You should improve figure 2: insert y-axis label, imagine resolution, and figure layer in general.

L263: NH3 please write it as NH3 (3 as subscript).

Other minor issues are reported in .pdf file.


Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

You should improve figure 2: insert y-axis label, imagine resolution, and figure layer in general.

Response: Valid point, thanks. We adjusted figure 2 accordingly.


L263: NH3 please write it as NH3 (3 as subscript).

Response: Sure, corrected.


Other minor issues are reported in .pdf file.

Response: Thanks. All corrected now.


Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

The paper is well structured, argued and written. With a few minor edits, it is publishable. - Line 36, a more detailed description of environmentally friendly would be helpful. - Line 68, the words 'in' and 'far' reduce the sentences clarity, suggest removing. - Line 88, spell a.s.l. in full. - Line 133, providing more details about what the organic standards for rice in India are, would be helpful. - Lines 340-5, there is evidence that organic chemicals are more harmful to the environment, due to their higher toxicity. Ames et al 1990 show that just over half of organic chemicals are carcinogenic (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2217210). - Organic chemicals need to be applied more frequently throughout the growing season, particularly insecticides (https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~lhom/organictext.html). I think the last 2 points require further discussion in your paper.

Author Response

Line 36, a more detailed description of environmentally friendly would be helpful.

Response: Done; added "in terms of soil quality, minimized energy use, biodiversity and minimized water pollution"


Line 68, the words 'in' and 'far' reduce the sentences clarity, suggest removing.

Response: Done, thanks for the hint.


Line 88, spell a.s.l. in full.

Response: Done


Line 133, providing more details about what the organic standards for rice in India are, would be helpful.

Response: Done, thanks for the hint; added "(Indian National Program for Organic Production, EU Council Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 and BIO SUISSE Standards)"


Lines 340-5, there is evidence that organic chemicals are more harmful to the environment, due to their higher toxicity. Ames et al 1990 show that just over half of organic chemicals are carcinogenic (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2217210). - Organic chemicals need to be applied more frequently throughout the growing season, particularly insecticides (https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~lhom/organictext.html). I think the last 2 points require further discussion in your paper.

Response: Thanks for pointing this out. We adjusted the text so that it better matches with the cited study ("organic pesticides typically have lower toxicity and often lower persistence in the environment"). Since we subsequently specify that the organic farmers in the project mainly use neem (we now added: "which is of low toxicity") we believe that further discussing the points you raised would sit odd in this paper.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 3 Report

The paper analyses a topic of interest (economic repercussions associated with the diffusion of organic crops) in a country where farming activities are relevant and where the number of family farms is high. As well as, it contributes to questioning statements accepted by the scientific community, such as the fact that productivity is lower in organic farming than in conventional farming. However, there are several issues that must be reviewed by the author / authors. Specifically:

- Materials and Methods section: 

1) the study area of the project must be specified in more detail. It is indicated the number of villages, the rainfall or the altitude, but to understand the relevance of farming activities and the representativeness of the sample of farms analysed, more detailed information should be included as the number of farms, total cultivated area distinguishing between conventional and organic farming, number of agricultural assets, percentage of area occupied by different crops and with particular regard to basmati rice,etc. 

2) Table 1 (sample size). The information in Table 1 should be expanded, including the total area that represents those farms. And it is also possible, assets working on these farms.

3) To develop in greater depth the information related to semi-structured surveys (period of completion, number of interviews and structure of the interview). The information provided is clearly insufficient.

- Discussion section: it would be also required for the authors to consider how the increase in the area devoted to crop export-oriented basmati rice may affect the reduction of the areas dedicated to the self-supply of the families.

- Conclusions Section. It is too brief. It must be developed synthesizing the main results derived from the research 

Author Response

1) the study area of the project must be specified in more detail. It is indicated the number of villages, the rainfall or the altitude, but to understand the relevance of farming activities and the representativeness of the sample of farms analysed, more detailed information should be included as the number of farms, total cultivated area distinguishing between conventional and organic farming, number of agricultural assets, percentage of area occupied by different crops and with particular regard to basmati rice,etc.

Response: Thanks for pointing this out. We shifted the information on the total number of farms from the result section to the methodology section and also added area data so that it is easier to understand the relevance. Percentage of area occupied by different crops, however, is part of the result section.


2) Table 1 (sample size). The information in Table 1 should be expanded, including the total area that represents those farms. And it is also possible, assets working on these farms.

Response: We now added the total conventional and organic area covered by the sample. Data on other assets are unfortunatly not available.


3) To develop in greater depth the information related to semi-structured surveys (period of completion, number of interviews and structure of the interview). The information provided is clearly insufficient.

Response: Valid point, thanks. We now included the information on period of completion, number of interviews and methodology.


Discussion section: it would be also required for the authors to consider how the increase in the area devoted to crop export-oriented basmati rice may affect the reduction of the areas dedicated to the self-supply of the families.

Response: Good point, thanks. We added in the discussion section "The partial shift to basmati for export also did not affect food security of the farm families since they continued cultivating coarse paddy and wheat at least to the extent required for their own consumption."


Conclusions Section. It is too brief. It must be developed synthesizing the main results derived from the research.

Response: Thanks. We further elaborated on the main research results, as advised.


Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 4 Report

Dear Authors,
your study is very interesting and results and discussion are well-described. I think that it is a good contribution to improve the knowledge on sustainability of organic production the world over. However, I wish to suggest some integrations in the Materials and Methods paragraph i.e. more details as to the semi-structured interviews. In this case I recommend more information about the questionnaire or track used for interview, more details on the interviewees and more indications about the method used to analyze the collected data. Moreover, I suggest to include some references to support the selected method.
Finally, I would suggest to indicate the conversion EUR (or US dollar)/INR before, considering that the first citation of INR is in line 203 and table 3 but the EUR indication is only in line 222.

Best regards

Author Response

I wish to suggest some integrations in the Materials and Methods paragraph i.e. more details as to the semi-structured interviews. In this case I recommend more information about the questionnaire or track used for interview, more details on the interviewees and more indications about the method used to analyze the collected data. Moreover, I suggest to include some references to support the selected method.

Response: Thanks, valid points. We included information on the interviewees, questionnaire and references concerning the methodology.


Finally, I would suggest to indicate the conversion EUR (or US dollar)/INR before, considering that the first citation of INR is in line 203 and table 3 but the EUR indication is only in line 222.

Response: Thanks, done.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 3 Report

The comments made in the previous paper have been included in the current paper.

Back to TopTop