Centre for Rural Economy

Staff Profile

Dr Francisco Areal

Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Economic


Email: Francisco.Areal-Borrego@newcastle.ac.uk

Telephone: 44 (0) 1912085272 

Centre for Rural Economy, Agriculture building, Newcastle University Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 7RU, United Kingdom

Francisco Areal is a Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Economics at the Centre for Rural Economy, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. Previously Francisco worked as Associate Professor in Environmental Economics 2017-2019 and Lecturer of Environmental Economics at the University of Reading 2011-2017. 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. Recently he has led a project in China on achieving Sustainable Intensification using remote sensing in China funded by Agri-Tech in China Newton Network. Francisco has also carried out consultancy work.

Francisco joined the Centre for Rural Economy at the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences in 2019. Francisco research focuses on  the interaction between agriculture, the environment, economics and society by applying statistical and econometric methods to answer questions of policy relevance for agriculture and the environment. More specifically, Francisco is currently working on developing farm sustainability indicators; developing econometric methods to account for social connectivity (e.g. interdependence of individuals preferences) and unobserved heterogeneity in consumer's and producer's choices.


Francisco's 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. A number of alternatives to the use of genetically modified soy were assessed to analyse the economic impact to the Spanish fodder industry and livestock farming sector of a potential EU ban on the imports. The report can be found here. More recently, he has conducted a second report for Fundación ANTAMA on the "Benefits of Bt maize in Spain (1998-2015). Benefits from an economic, social and environmental viewpoint.". This second report can be accessed here

c) Sustainability:

Francisco has worked on developing metrics of Sustainable Intensification (SI). He has worked intensively in this area through projects funded by Rural Business Research and Defra's Sustainable Intensification Platform. Francisco has developed ways to obtain distributional metrics of SI.

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 - University of Reading, UK

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 - University of Reading, UK

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 - University of Reading, UK

Francisco is currently co-supervising 2 PhD students:

Caroline Harkness (with Dr. Jake Bishop (University of Reading), 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 (University of Reading) Evaluating policies aiming at improving milk production in Kazakhstan

Francisco has supervised 20 MSc students and 30 undergraduate students