Assessing the Barriers to Conversion to Organic Farming in Canada

Document Type : Original Articles


1 Department of Agricultural Support Policies, Agricultural Planning and Economic Research Institute, Tehran

2 Department of Agricultural Economics, Environmental Science Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University

3 MSc. Student in Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural, Tarbiat Modarres University

4 MSc. Associate Researcher in Agricultural Economics, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Saskatchewan, Canada


Despite high growth rates of organic production in Canada, it remains a very small sub-sector of Canadian agriculture. The focus of this paper is on identifying factors that encourage or discourage farmers when considering adopting organic practices, especially the institutional factors that affect the decision whether to convert to organic farming. The data used in the study were collected from a sample of both organic and conventional farmers in Saskatchewan. The results reveal that conventional farmers lack information in many areas of organic practices, and that those institutions related to organic farming are very useful in providing information about organic farming. Lack of knowledge and skills needed to manage an organic farm and lack of market opportunities for organic products are the most important reasons for not using organic farming practices. It appears that conventional farmersbeliefs and attitudes are important factors in affecting their willingness to accept organic practices. Moreover, the effectiveness and protection of organic regulations, certification bodies and marketers can encourage conventional farmers to convert to organic practices. Conventional farmers' opinions indicate that private organizations in Saskatchewan are important for the development of the organic farming sector.