Economic and environmental sustainability analysis of guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L.) farming process in a Mediterranean area: two case studies

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Fabio Gresta
Anna I. De Luca *
Alfio Strano
Giacomo Falcone
Carmelo Santonoceto
Umberto Anastasi
Giovanni Gulisano
(*) Corresponding Author:
Anna I. De Luca | anna.deluca@unirc.it

Abstract

Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L.) is a spring-summer legume with a high drought tolerance, grown mainly in India, Pakistan, United States and South Africa, whose seeds contain galactomannans. These can be used as an emollient, softening or thickening agent, a flocculant, as well as in hydraulic fracturing, and as a stabiliser in a wide range of other industrial activities: the production of cosmetics, paper, textiles, paints and varnishes, detergents, in construction, and in food products (jams, jellies, yogurt, mayonnaise, ketchup, diet foods, foods for coeliacs, etc.). In the light of a growing industrial demand for guar flour, in May 2012 a trial was carried out in southern Italy. Seeds from South Africa were sown in large plots on two farms with different soil characteristics. The crop showed yields varying between 1.8 and 2.2 t ha–1. Agronomic results were then used to conduct an integrated sustainability analysis using the production cost analysis and the life cycle assessment, in order to assess, respectively, the cost-effectiveness and the environmental impact of the production process of guar in a Mediterranean environment. Compared to other competitive crops, guar, with less than 3000 kg of CO2 eq. emissions, can be considered as a low-emission crop. Given the above-mentioned yield, guar growing is economically sustainable when the purchase price of seeds is not less than 0.96 € kg–1.

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Author Biographies

Fabio Gresta, Department of Agriculture (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria

Researcher of Agronomy and Crop Science

Anna I. De Luca, Department of Agriculture (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria

Researcher of Agricultural Economics and Policy

Alfio Strano, Department of Agriculture (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria

Researcher of Agricultural Economics and Policy

Giacomo Falcone, Department of Agriculture (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria

PhD of Agricultural Economics and Policy

Carmelo Santonoceto, Department of Agriculture (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria

Associate Professor of Agronomy and Crop Science

Umberto Anastasi, Department of Agricultural and Food Science (DISPA), University of Catania

Researcher of Agronomy and Crop Science

Giovanni Gulisano, Department of Agriculture (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria

Full Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy