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Economic and environmental performances of organic farming system compared to conventional farming system: A case farm model to simulate the horticultural sector of the Niayes Region in Senegal

Binta BA A., Barbier B.. 2015. Journal of Horticulture, 02 (4) : 10 p..

DOI: 10.4172/2376-0354.1000152

Horticultural production is an increasingly important activity in Senegal that is mainly located in the Niayes region between Dakar and St Louis. However, the increasing use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers has many implications for the environment. The recognition that conventional horticulture might have a negative impact on farmers and consumers health, and on the atmosphere through the emission of GHGs, has increased in recent years, leading some NGO's to promote organic farming. Therefore, the rising level of environmental hazards from conventional farming system made it attractive to farmers in the Niayes to adopt sustainable agriculture practices based on organic farming. A whole farm model is used to compare the economic and environmental performances of the organic and conventional horticultural farming systems in the Niayes region in Senegal. The gross margin is regarded as the economic indicator, while carbon emissions are regarded as environmental indicators. The results indicate that the conventional farming system is still more attractive than the organic farming because the sale price is the same for both systems. There is no market for organic food in the region. Simulation results also reveal that there exists a ¿win-win¿ situation for conventional farmers when they partially adopt organic farming system. However, environmental results in terms of carbon emissions reduction suggest that the organic system is more effective in mitigating climate change. Our study suggests that, through appropriate investment in agro-ecological research to improve organic management and the establishment of a local market for organic crops, organic farming can become a competitive alternative to conventional farming, when it comes to healthy food production with less environmental impact in the horticultural sector. However, further studies are needed on components of sustainable intensification to see which system of production is more profitable for farmers of the Niayes region, but also beneficial for the environment, and at regional and even national levels.

Mots-clés : sénégal

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