A model-based comprehensive analysis of technical sustainability of potato production systems in the Mantaro Valley, Central Highlands, Peru

D. Grados, R. Heuts, E. Vetters, E. Schrevens
Potato farmers in the Central Highlands of Peru (Mantaro Valley, Junín) have been adapting classical agricultural technology to local constraints, resulting in traditional knowledge. However, they lack the scientific knowledge to analyse the overall production system holistically. The general objective of this research is the analysis of the biophysical input-output relations and the technical sustainability, including environmental impacts, of the potato production systems, using multi-target methodologies and system modelling. The data consist of full input-output accountancy of potato cropping systems in seven rural communities of the Mantaro Valley. Between 2005 and 2011, a total of 42 potato plots were monitored. Life-cycle assessment and data envelopment analysis (DEA) were used to estimate environmental impacts and relative technical efficiencies, respectively. Furthermore, potential production was calculated with the SUBSTOR-Potato model based on local climate conditions. The potato growth and development model estimated that potential tuber dry weight (DW) production ranged from 6.11 to 16.74 t ha-1, while the measured production varied from 1.34 to 12.18 t ha-1. The most important energetic use was allocated to material input (10,835-32,314 MJ ha-1). Energetic conversion fluctuated from 3.74 to 7.19 and specific energy from 0.57 to 1.12 MJ t-1. DEA calculated a total of 64.3% inefficient potato cropping systems. Main factors affecting potato production were: inadequate fertilization schemes, inefficient investment and allocation of labour, low production volumes and relevant environmental impacts. The latter amounted to (t-1 FW yield): 150 global warming potential (kg CO2-eq), 5.23 acidification potential (kg SO2-eq), 6.11 eutrophication potential (kg PO4-eq), 0.05 land use (ha) and 610 cumulative energy demand (MJ-eq) on average. This methodology has proven to be efficient in evaluating the technical sustainability of different potato systems, considering achievable potential production and minimal environmental impacts under local conditions.
Grados, D., Heuts, R., Vetters, E. and Schrevens, E. (2017). A model-based comprehensive analysis of technical sustainability of potato production systems in the Mantaro Valley, Central Highlands, Peru. Acta Hortic. 1154, 155-162
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1154.20
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1154.20
efficiency, life-cycle assessment (LCA), data envelopment analysis (DEA), potential production, crop modelling
English

Acta Horticulturae