Assessing the impact of water use in conventional and organic carrot production in Poland
Zbigniew Kowalczyk & Maciej Kuboń
As global water resources are decreasing and the demand for it is constantly increasing, the problem of proper water management is becoming more pressing. Poland is one of the largest producers of vegetables in Europe, including carrots, with significant exports. However its freshwater resources are relatively small. The paper presents the results of research on the water footprint (WF) life cycle assessment (LCA) in conventional and organic carrot production.
The methodology of calculating WF was used in accordance with PN-EN ISO 14046. It was found, e.g., that WF for organic production of carrot (WF = 1.9 m3 ha−1) is over five times lower, as compared to conventional production (WF = 10.4 m3 ha−1). In the case of conventional production, the fertilization process (67.0–67.7%) has the greatest impact on the shaping of WF in the individual impact categories, i.e. Human Health, Ecosystem Quality and resources. In organic production, the WF-shaping factor is carrot harvesting (41.9–43.1%). The research can be used to develop pro-ecological carrot production technologies, as well as to shape sustainable development plans in agricultural areas. It can also be used to outline policy directions regarding foreign trade in water-consuming agricultural products.
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