Innovative techniques were developed in the Isafruit project in order to create a more ecological sustainable way of fruit growing. Before fruit growers will consider implementation of these innovations they need information concerning their economic sustainability. The economic model ProfitFruit is made to evaluate the profitability of innovative techniques. ProfitFruit includes a database with quantitative data concerning apple growing in three European fruit growing regions: North Germany (Jork), Switzerland and the Netherlands. Data include amounts of inputs and its costs, yield and prices, labour demand and costs for fixed assets. ProfitFruit calculates returns, gross margin, marginal gross margin, fixed costs as well as labour income of the entrepreneur. ProfitFruit is used for the economic evaluation of the Isafruit Casa sprayer, of mechanical thinning, and of hot water treatment to prevent storage rot. In general, the Isafruit Casa sprayer is the most profitable of these techniques. If the sprayer functions well, it will decrease costs and therefore increase returns when compared to a standard spraying machine. Therefore, fruit growers who can afford the investment might invest in this technique. Also mechanical thinning instead of chemical thinning may be profitable, especially if it results in better product quality and higher prices. Hot water treatment increases total costs, compared with the chemical way of protection. Therefore not many integrated fruit growers will decide to apply this technique, not even when it becomes more effective or if additional labour demand decreases. However, due to problematic storage rot and high prices for organic apples (no chemicals allowed), hot water treatment seems profitable in organic production. Also a desired reduction of the residues on apples might stimulate hot water treatment. In general, costs and labour demand will be critical success factors for implementation of innovative techniques which are meant to spare the environment.
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