Can sustainability match quality citrus fruit growing production? An energy and economic balance of agricultural management models for ‘PGI Clementine of Calabria’
¹University of Catania, Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Via S. Sofia 98, IT95123 Catania, Italy
²Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Department of Agriculture, Via Graziella, Feo di Vito, IT89100 Reggio Calabria, Italy
This paper analyses energy and economic balances for different growing methods (conventional, integrated and organic cultivation) for Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) Clementine of Calabria, a quality-oriented citrus species in South Italy. Through a double methodological approach, the economic and energy sustainability of each production system was assessed by accounting for the farm net value (FNV) of farms. The energy employment in terms of direct (D) and indirect (I) sources and in terms of renewable (R) and non-renewable (NR) energy sources was also analysed. Regarding FNV, the results show that in the presence of European subsidies, organic farming (with 6.06 k€ ha-1) is more profitable than other systems (4.33 k€ ha-1 for integrated farming and 4.99 k€ ha-1 for conventional farming) due to the higher sales price of organic PGI clementines, which allow producers to obtain the highest remuneration for their capital (1.65 B/C organic, 1.48 B/C integrated, 1.61 B/C conventional). In addition, from an energy perspective, the organic farming systems showed better performances than conventional and integrated systems because they required the lowest average energy employment (49.5 GJ ha-1 year-1) compared with the integrated (57.2 GJ ha-1 year-1) and conventional scenarios (59.1 GJ ha-1 year-1).