Calculating carbon emissions in Turkish organic and conventional dried fig production

E. Okan Arikan, U. Aksoy
In Turkey, fig fruit are commercially sun-dried in the Meander basins as destined to the export markets. Fig orchards are mostly located on mountains in the region and production on slopes is mainly rain-fed except few irrigated locations with low levels of input use. Parallel to the increased demand for dried fruit and nuts among consumers of organic food, organic dried fig demand escalated during the last decades. Reasons to buy organic vary among consumers, however, health concern is still the motivation followed by environmental awareness especially for plant products. The objective of the study was to compare carbon emissions in organic and conventional fig production and to identify the main practices leading to significant emissions. All activities carried out at the orchard and in processing plant during the production season were recorded and each step was evaluated in respect to carbon emissions. In order to make the assessment representative for the region, farmers, processors and experts were surveyed. In case of carbon emission rates, relevant literature and data sources were used to obtain reference data. The carbon emissions were calculated taking into consideration cultural practices as fertilization, tillage, pest and disease management, pruning, pollination by male figs, and irrigation and harvest, and post-harvest handling which included storage, drying, aflatoxin control, fumigation (storage pest control), and packaging operations. The emissions in conventional management was 570 kg Carbon dioxide (CO2) Equivalent (CO2-eq) ha compared to 242 kg CO2-eq 
ha-1 in organic systems. The emissions per kg of dried fig are calculated as 0.315 kg and 0.192 kg CO2-eq, in conventional and organic management, respectively. The major practices or operations contributing to the carbon footprint of dried fig sector are the fertilizer use, irrigation and phosphine treatments in conventional management systems; whereas soil tillage, cold storage and deep-freezing to kill storage pests are the major sources in organic dried fig production. Regarding control of storage pests, chemical and non-chemical methods showed significant differences in respect to carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide treatment under atmospheric pressure is recommended to organic dried fig processors due to lower carbon emission compared to deep-freezing.
Okan Arikan, E. and Aksoy, U. (2020). Calculating carbon emissions in Turkish organic and conventional dried fig production. Acta Hortic. 1286, 269-276
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1286.37
chemical fumigation, non-chemical fumigation, Ficus carica, irrigation, fertilizers

Acta Horticulturae