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Environmental assessment of urban agricultural systems in West Africa: implications of the diversity of practices and the variability of nitrogen emissions for the life cycle assessment of tomato from Benin

Perrin A.. 2013. Montpellier : CIRAD, 218 p.. Thèse -- Sciences agronomiques et écologiques, Thèse -- Sciences agronomiques et écologiques.

Urban agriculture provides opportunities to reduce poverty and ensure food safety for cities inhabitants in West Africa. The general objective of this thesis is producing representative inventories and a robust environmental assessment for those production systems using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. Our case study was the tomato production in urban gardens in Benin. Our state of the art identified the integration of the diversity of systems and the variability of field emissions as two major challenges for the LCA of vegetable products. We therefore developed a typology-based protocol to collect cropping systems data that includes their diversity and an approach combining a nitrogen budget and the use of a biophysical model to estimate nitrogen field emissions. We created inventories for 6 cropping system types and one weighted mean representative for the urban tomato growers in Benin. The analysis of the agronomical performances of these systems highlighted the important yield variability and the variable and often excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers. The investigation of nitrogen fluxes variability at plot and crop cycle scales led to the identification of 4 major influencing factors: water use, nitrogen input, soil pH and field capacity. Using favorable and unfavorable scenarios for nitrogen emissions for each of these 4 factors, we demonstrated that the LCA results were sensitive to their variations. The implementation of LCA using those contrasted data showed that one hectare of tomato production in Benin was more impacting than European vegetable productions. The benefits from the favorable climate for producing out-of-season tomatoes were hampered by the low efficiency of irrigations systems, the frequent use of insecticides and large nitrogen emissions. Measured data and new knowledge on these systems are needed to validate and refine our conclusions. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : danger pour la santé; Évaluation du risque; pesticide; capacité au champ; engrais azoté; ph du sol; irrigation; gaz à effet de serre; rendement des cultures; performance de culture; impact sur l'environnement; Évaluation de l'impact; pratique culturale; système de culture; solanum lycopersicum; azote; analyse du cycle de vie; agriculture urbaine; europe; afrique occidentale; bénin

Thématique : Systèmes et modes de culture; Fertilisation; Irrigation; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Méthodes de recherche

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