LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (LCA) AND FOOD MILES - AN ENERGY BALANCE FOR FRUIT IMPORTS VERSUS HOME-GROWN APPLES

M.M. Blanke
The primary energy required to provide apple ('Braeburn' and 'Golden Delicious') fruit for consumers in the densely populated (8 million consumers) Rhein-Ruhr area, Germany in April was calculated. Home grown-apples harvested in mid-October and CA-stored for 5 months on-site at ca. 1°C until mid March were compared with fresh apples of the same cultivar grown in the Southern hemisphere in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand or Grabouw-Elgin, Western Cape, South Africa. These apples were picked in March with subsequent 28 day, or 14 day transport, respectively, on reefers to Antwerp for sale in April in Germany. The primary energy required for the cultivation of 'Braeburn' apples in New Zealand of ca. 0.7 MJ·kg-1 apple fruit represented 11% of their overall primary energy requirement, compared with 1.0 MJ·kg-1 fruit in Germany or South Africa with smaller harvests of 40 t•ha-1 cf. 90 t·ha-1 in New Zealand. Apples ('Braeburn' and 'Golden Delicious'), grown and stored locally in Germany, consumed 4.1 MJ·kg-1 fruit, which included ca. 0.8 MJ·kg-1 for five months CA storage during the winter. This compared favourably with 5.4-6.1 MJ·kg-1 for overseas shipment from South Africa or New Zealand, i.e., a 24-33% greater energy requirement for imported fruits. The CA storage of home-grown apples in Germany partially compensated for the energy required to import fresh fruit from overseas. To fully compensate for fruit imports from South Africa or New Zealand, home-grown apples had to be stored locally for ca. 9 or 18 months, respectively, i.e., in the latter case beyond the next harvest. The smaller primary energy required for domestic apple fruit is discussed with respect to providing local employment, fruit orchards preserving the countryside, fruit quality, food safety and quality assurance schemes such as QS and EUREP-GAP and food security of local fruit and networking favouring regional produce.
Blanke, M.M. (2008). LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (LCA) AND FOOD MILES - AN ENERGY BALANCE FOR FRUIT IMPORTS VERSUS HOME-GROWN APPLES. Acta Hortic. 767, 59-64
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.767.4
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.767.4
energy, export, food miles, import, life cycle assessment, LCA, primary energy requirement, QS, regional production, trade, transport
English

Acta Horticulturae