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Building a typology of cropping practices from comparison with a technical reference: first step for a relevant cropping system redesigning process - results for tropical citrus production

Le Bellec F., Cattan P., Bonin M., Rajaud A.. 2011. Fruits, 66 (3) : p. 143-159.

DOI: 10.1051/fruits/2011026

Introduction. Farm typologies and cropping practice typologies generally aim at seeking determinants of existing crop management strategies. They constitute the first step for setting improvement goals for cropping systems. Though there are a host of farm typology methods, few deal specifically with farmers' practices, and even fewer investigate the correlations between practices. We propose here a framework for analysing the determinants of crop management, based on a vision of a crop management sequence condensed into logical combinations of cropping techniques. Materials and methods. This analytical framework was applied to the case of Guadeloupian citrus production, using a representative sample of 41 producers. Three stages were necessary to implement our analytical framework. At stage 1, logical and ordered combinations of cropping practices (CCPs), constitutive of observed as well as reference crop managements (RCMs), were identified through expert analysis. Based on measurements of deviations between farmers' CCPs and RCMs' CCPs, a typology of cropping practices was next built. At stage 2, the performances of farmers' crop managements were evaluated using relevant indicators. Finally, at stage 3, constraints ¿ either related to the environment or to the whole farm management ¿ that determined producers' cropping practices were identified for making, with the stakeholders, proposals for further technical improvements. Results. Crop management sequences were condensed into five CCPs. A technical profile was then determined for every producer, before a multiple correspondence factorial analysis was run. It identified two groups of producers with contrasting technical profiles. The collective analysis of these results pointed out ¿weed management¿ as a major constraint on the cropping systems, revealing that the RCM was inadequate in a context of impossible mechanisation. Discussion. Restructuring complex sequences of cropping techniques into five logical combinations of techniques enabled the comparison with a reference crop management. The cropping systems' constraints and the objectives for further improvements were then set up collectively by the farmers and social stakeholders, along with the researchers. This analysis constitutes the first stage of a process of redesigning cropping systems, and its result provides a sound basis for a participatory approach.

Mots-clés : citrus; agriculteur; participation; pratique culturale; désherbage; système de culture; gestion; approches participatives; guadeloupe; france

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