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Conventional and organic farming methods of sweet cherry (Prunus avium I.): A enviromental life cycle analysis approach






Key words:

cherry, organic farming systems, conventional farming systems, environmental impact, life cycle assessment.

Cherry is a very appreciated fleshy fruit mostly eaten fresh but also processed, specially to obtain jam, so allowing its consumption in the long term. According to the FAO data, the average annual world production is about 2.3 million tons. The European Union (EU) is one of the main producers; its average annual production is about 630,000 tons, so representing approximately 27% of annual world production. Among EU countries, Poland is the sixth cherry producer, with almost 7% of the EU total production. In order to obtain an economically satisfying yield of cherries with a medium/high quality, especially in certain years in relation to pest control, could bring about a relevant environmental impact. This paper aims to acces, by using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, the environmental impact of the cherry production from cradle to the farm gate. The system boundaries include only the operations of planting and cultivation of irrigated
cherry orchards sited in a Mediterranean region (Apulia, Italy). All flows of materials and energy were referred to one kilogram of cherries, which is the functional unit. A comparison between conventional and organic farming systems was also carried out, in order to identify the cultivation method having the lower environmental impact. Data regarding cultivation techniques are primary data directly collected by local farmers. As for fertilizers and pesticides air-water-soil emissions, some dispersion models, available in
literature, were used. As for pesticides, these models refer to Mackay partition coefficients according to the characteristics of the active ingredients as reported by ISPRA, EPA and EFSA. Otherwise, for nitrogen fertilizers emissions, Bentrup model was adopted.

Giuseppe MARTINO Nicoletti, Carlo RUSSO
University of Foggia
Department of Economics
Foggia 71121, Italy
Giuseppe LOPRIORE, Davide SCELSA
University of Foggia
Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and
Foggia 71121, Italy
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