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Ex-ante sustainability assessment of cleaner banana production systems

Chopin, Pierre, Tirolien, Jérôme, Blazy, Jean-Marc
Journal of cleaner production 2016 v.139 pp. 15-24
bananas, crop production, cultivars, fallow, farmers, farming systems, farms, intercropping, landscapes, models, pesticides, pollution, production technology, soil air, stakeholders, Guadeloupe
As one of the largest users of pesticides in the world, banana production is responsible for numerous types of pollution affecting water, soil and air and causing a variety of health issues. Agroecological innovations can help to reduce pesticide use and achieve cleaner and more sustainable banana production systems. Innovations must be well suited to the diversity of banana farms and acceptable to the stakeholders involved in production. We tested the impact of 18 agroecological innovations in Guadeloupe on the sustainability of three contrasted production systems, using the multi-criteria assessment model MASC. These innovations included different types of fallow (A), bans on pesticides (B), conditional applications of pesticides (C), intercropping (D), resistant cultivars (E), and integrated systems (F). In the assessment, we introduced the views of 29 stakeholders involved in sustainability issues relative to banana grouped through three sets of weightings, obtained by direct weighting of the indicators used in a multi-criteria assessment tool. We analysed the effects of each set of weightings on the sustainability level for these different banana production systems. Our results showed that the adoption of innovations can have negative, positive or no effects on the overall sustainability of banana production systems. Although none of the innovations had a positive effect on all cropping systems, some innovations were relevant to several farm types. However, this depended on the sets of weightings considered, because we found several types of stakeholder with opposing views on the importance of sustainability components. Integrated and organic systems produced the best results in terms of increasing sustainability and were relevant to current farming systems. However, in order to obtain cleaner banana production at the landscape scale, a combination of these innovations, tailored to the diversity of farmers' situations and stakeholder preferences, still needs to be proposed.