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Economic evaluation of strategies for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in potato production systems

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Authors: J. Cayambe, A. Iglesias, S. García de Jalón, C. Chuquillanqui y P. Riga
Issue: 111-2 (154-173)
Topic: Agricultural Economics
Keywords: Marginal abatement cost curves, nitrogen fertilization, cost-effectiveness, irrigation

The temperature rise of the planet associated with anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions promotes interest for strategies to mitigate them. Since agriculture is a sector responsible for nearly a fifth of global emissions, it is necessary to identify measures to be applied, what is their mitigation potential and the estimated cost of implementing each measure. Our study addresses these questions by comparing the production of potato in two distinct production systems and with actual field data. In a first step, this paper calculates in a modern agricultural system the carbon footprint of mechanization and energy use for irrigation (located in Spain) and in less productive systems that integrate less technologies (located in Peru) . The results show that in the case studies in both countries the nitrogen cycle represents the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions, followed by energy fuel for irrigation and mechanization. Subsequently this study evaluates economically the mitigation actions through Marginal Abatement Cost Curves. These results demonstrate that the management of nitrogen fertilizer is the best alternative to reduce the carbon footprint because of their greater potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their lower equivalent mitigation costs. Finally, the study provides a methodological framework that can be easily applied to other crops.

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