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An LCIA-based typology for more representative results and refined data collection of a horticultural cropping system in the Tropics : the case of tomato production in Benin, West Africa

Perrin A., Basset-Mens C., Yehouessi W., Huat J., Gabrielle B.. 2012. In : Corson Michael S. (ed.), Van Der Werf Hayo M.G. (ed.). Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment in the Agri-Food Sector (LCA Food 2012), October 1-4, 2012, Saint-Malo, France. Paris : INRA, p. 409-414. International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment in the Agri-Food Sector. 8, 2012-10-01/2012-10-04, Saint-Malo (France).

Application of Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) to horticultural products raises renewed and specific issues, especially in tropical areas. Given the scarcity of data and expert knowledge in these areas, the first challenge lies in obtaining Life-Cycle Inventory (LCI) representative of the diversity of cropping systems involved in the production function. In this study, we identified the cropping systems' components that are likely to influence the environmental impacts of the production, and their variability. To explore the diversity of cropping systems from an LCA perspective, 12 cropping systems producing dry season tomato production in the coastal area of Benin were selected based on local-expert knowledge and assessed with LCA. A two-step statistical analysis (CPA-AHC) allowed to produce a typology of cropping systems with regard to their environmental impacts and highlights the key components responsible for the hot-spots. This result has direct implications for a better design of data collection in a highly complex system.

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