Assessing food production capacity of farms in periurban areas
AbstractThe assessment of food production capacity is particularly important in small- and medium-sized cities, which have greater chances to develop local periurban farming. To date the literature has been focused on niche sectors of the food market, such as alternative food networks and public procurement for school canteens, but less attention has been paid to urban food production. We present a method to assess the food production capacity in periurban areas, which we tested on meat production (beef and lamb) in the urban region of Pisa, a medium-sized Italian city. The capacity of periurban livestock farms for meat production to fulfil urban demand was assessed on the basis of meat supply and demand. We derived meat demand from statistical data, whereas we calculated meat supply on the basis of three estimates (i.e. potential, current, actual meat supply) taking into account both statistical and on-farm survey data. In particular, the potential meat supply was estimated from statistical data on slaughtered livestock, the current meat supply was estimated from meat production data of on-farm surveys, while the actual meat supply was estimated from the amount of meat sold by farmers on the local market from onfarm surveys. For the urban region of Pisa, we estimated that the potential meat supply met is equal to 16% of the beef demand and 62% of the lamb demand. This data could change, if the on-farm data is taken into account in the current supply, as was the case with lamb, which decreased to 37%, whereas beef remained almost unchanged (14%). The actual supply was 70% and 10% of the current supply for beef and lamb respectively. We identified some gaps between the three estimates, particularly for lamb production, suggesting that it may have some constraints in terms of production and commercialisation. Our results can contribute to assess local food systems and their drivers at the farm level. Furthermore these results also highlight the need for an agronomical approach to food systems based on the analysis of farm activities located in periurban areas in order to quantify the food supply that is actually produced for the local market. Food planning policies, as well as studies at the local level, could take advantage from this method.
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Copyright (c) 2014 Rosalia Filippini, Elisa Marraccini, Sylvie Lardon, Enrico Bonari
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