Combining reference trials, farm surveys and mathematical models to assess carbon footprint and mitigation measures in tropical agriculture

Rodrigo A. Morales A.*, Percy Zorogastúa C., Diana Feliciano, Felipe de Mendiburu D., Roberto Quiroz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


This study aimed at estimating carbon footprint (CF) and assessing mitigation options for selected tropical crops using excel-based models, parameterized with data collected through closed-ended questions questionnaires, combined with a reference trial (RT). Most of the estimates using structured interviews were similar to those measured in the RT and the literature. Total average emission intensities ranged from 24 to 290 kg CO2eq·Mg−1, where the extreme values corresponded to cassava in the RT (24 kg CO2eq·Mg−1) and maize in interviewed farmers in Barranca province (290 kg CO2eq·Mg−1). Overall, fertilizer production and application contributed to 77% of total greenhouse gas (GHG). Transportation generated emissions comparable to field estimates. Farm emissions can be reduced in 17 to 27% with incorporation of mitigation practices. The methodology used in this study constitute a useful and easily applicable tool to assess ex-ante the impact of policies and decisions on CF under farm conditions. It can also be used by different stakeholders for different purposes; including but not limited to: label products offered in the market with GHG emission estimates, make decisions to regulate the emissions in the agricultural sector, and to enable farmers to negotiate prices and incentives for environmental preservation with quantitative information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-195
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Agricultural Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the CGIAR Fund donors for funding this research. For a list of CGIAR Fund donors please see: The senior author also acknowledges the support from the National Secretariat of Science and Technology of Panama (SENACYT, Professional Excellence subprogram) and the Agricultural Research Institute of Panama (IDIAP).


  • Peru
  • Emissions
  • Maize
  • Sweet potato
  • Cassava
  • Fertilizers


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