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Dr Francisco Areal

  • Module convenor for APME76 Resource and Environmental Economics; APME77 Environmental Economics and APME21 Policy Analysis
  • Environmental Economics: Human wellbeing and nature; Sustainability indicators; Environmental valuation; Invasive species; Development of methods that incorporate environmental and spatial aspects to farm efficiency analysis.
  • Agricultural Economics: Efficiency analysis; Remote sensing; Technology adoption; Economic and environmental performance of GM crops; Commodity price analysis.
  • Consumer Behaviour: Economic valuation of food attributes related to risk; consumers' level of knowledge and information.

Francisco Areal is an Associate Professor in Environmental Economics since 2017. Francisco was appointed Lecturer of Environmental Economics at University of Reading in 2011. Previously he worked at the Joint Research Centre - Institute for Prospective Technological Studies in Seville, Spain and at the Central Science Laboratory in York (currently known as the Food and Environment Research Agency -FERA-).

Francisco has worked on a wide number of nationally and internationally funded projects including FP6-SIGMEA, FP6-Co-extra, Defra's funded Sustainable Intensification Platform, and Innovative UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Armajaro, amongst others. Francisco has also carried out consultancy work.

Francisco joined the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2011 where his research has covered five main areas: efficiency analysis, performance of genetically modified (GM) crops and evaluation of coexistence policies, sustainability, food security and development, and consumer behaviour in food consumption. More specifically:

a) Efficiency analysis:

Developing analytical methods to incorporate environmental outputs (e.g. ecosystem services) and spatial aspects into technical efficiency analysis.

Francisco has worked along Mr. Philip Jones (University of Reading), Simon Mortimer (University of Reading) and Paul Wilson (University of Nottingham) in a project funded by Rural Business Research on developing sustainable intensification indicators derived from farm efficiency analysis.

Francisco has contributed to the Sustainable Intensification Platform (SIP) a Defra funded project. The SIP focuses on the simultaneously increasing farm output and competitiveness, whilst protecting the countryside and enhancing the environment. In particular my role with other members of the University of Reading (Prof. Richard Tiffin, Dr. Simon Mortimer) and Dr. Frederic Ang was to develop metrics of sustainable intensification.

b) GM crops:

Francisco has work on evaluating economic and environmental performance of GM crops as well as associated policies. In this area Francisco has recently worked on developing ways to incorporate probability functions into composite indicators. This has been applied to calculating the probability of environmental impact of GM crops vs conventional crops.

He has also worked on examining the effect of coexistence measures to avoid cross-fertilisation between GM and conventional crops on GM crop adoption in the EU as well as analysing the distances needed to limit cross fertilisation between GM and non-GM maize in Europe.

Recently, he has conducted consultancy work for Fundación ANTAMA on the role of genetically modified soy as a raw material in the EU. As a result a report assessed the alternatives and economic impact to the Spanish fodder industry and livestock farming sector of a potential EU ban on the imports (click to watch a summary in a Youtube video - Spanish -). More recently he has conducted a second report for Fundación ANTAMA on "Benefits of Bt maize in Spain (1998-2015). Benefits from an economic, social and environmental viewpoint."

c) Sustainability:

Francisco has worked on developing metrics for Sustainable Intensification (SI) of farms. He has worked intensively in this area through funded projects by Rural Business Research and Defra's Sustainable Intensification Platform. Francisco has developed ways to obtain distributional metrics of SI such as farm level composite indicators of SI by combining stochastic frontier analysis framework and composite indicators for farm provision of environmental goods.

Analysing the sustainability of olive farming in Spain. Francisco has worked on understanding farmer's views on the future of olive farming incorporating spatial econometrics to provide propositions on what elements should be taking into account when designing agricultural policies aiming at guaranteeing the sustainability of olive farming in future.

Francisco has contributed to estimating the willingness to pay (WTP) of Greek residents for green electricity produced by offshore wind farm identifying factors behind respondents׳ WTP including individual׳s behaviour toward environment and individual׳s views on climate change and renewable energy.

d) Food security and development:

Francisco has contributed to the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) funded project on measuring the impacts of an edutainment TV programme, Shamba Shape Up, on the adoption of innovation systems by smallholder farmers in Kenya and social benefits.

Contributing to research on development economics in the area of food security and understanding the adoption of agricultural practices by small holding farmers.

e) Consumer behaviour in food consumption

Recently Francisco has collaborated with Caroline Harkness to investigate the consumer's willingness to pay for low acrylamide content.

Francisco's current research activities include being the Knowledge Base Supervisor of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project - collaboration between University of Reading and Armajaro-. The project investigates relationships between remote sensing and 'real' crop (ground data) in order to create a predictive system for crop production potential.

Previously Francisco has worked on:

  • estimating the economic value of trees susceptible to Sudden Oak Death;
  • analysing the effects of the international trade of cut flowers to the introduction of invasive species in the UK;
  • analysing the impacts of the American mink (Mustela vison) on a marketable native species: Salmon (Salmo salar) reared in fish farms using ecological-economic modelling;
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis for a native oyster restoration program in the UK land use modelling of common agricultural policy reform.

Francisco regularly participates as invited expert for the OECD network on farm level analysis of productivity and has advised research funding agencies such as ESRC.

Francisco has acted as Guest Editor of the special issue of Resources on "Sustainable indicators for environmental management". Francisco is a current member of the Steering Group of Eurochoices ( and member of the Editorial Staff Committee of the Journal Agricultural and Resource Economics/Economía Agraria y Recursos Naturales ( Francisco has acted as an executive member of the Agriculture Economics Society ( during the period 2013-2017.

Francisco has supervised 3 PhD students to completion:

Omotuyole Ambali (with Prof. Nikos Georgantzis) - Risk and Time Preferences and Spatial Dependence in Improved Rice Technology Adoption Decisions: Evidence from Nigeria

Rui Catarino (with Prof. Julian Park and Dr. Graziano Ceddia) - Modelling the effect of Bt maize introduction on pest dynamics, insecticide use and economic returns to farmers

Inibehe Upkong (with Prof. Kelvin Balcombe) - Valuing the Environmental and Livelihood Impacts of the Oil and Gas Industry: A Choice Experiment on the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

Francisco is currently supervising 3 PhD students:

Caroline Harkness (with Dr. Jake Bishop, Dr. Ian Shield (Rothamsted Research) and Mikhail Semenov (Rothamsted Research)) - Optimising agriculture for a changing climate: which farming practises confer reliability of food production and farm income?

Samal Kaliyeva (with Dr. Yiorgos Gadanakis) - Evaluating policies aiming at improving milk production in Kazakhstan

Evangelos Kodosakis (with Prof. Elizabeth Robinson) - Neglect and economic growth in forest regimes during crises

Francisco has supervised 20 MSc students and 30+ undergraduate students


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