My research is about sustainability, in the sustainable production of tomato in greenhouse with a special focus on high technology, using Mexican case studies.
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is consider to measure environmental impacts, while Social-LCA is used to evaluate the social impacts related to tomato greenhouse production in different scenarios, which include different levels of smart technology.
Globally humanity faces huge challenges related to hunger, malnutrition, depletion of natural resources, unemployment, among others. Mankind meanwhile has started addressing the causes and effects of climate change, as a matter of sustainable development across economic, social and environmental aspects.
Due to the population growth, the food demand has been also in continuously growth, being the food production an important cause of negative environmental, economic and social impacts through an intensive use of natural resources. Therefore, this has attracted international attention. Hence several countries and supranational orders have developed strategies and polices towards sustainable production addressing the global challenges. Including Mexico, that in the National Development Plan (NDP) promotes the sustainable development of the agriculture, focusing in GHG reduction. According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Climate Change mitigation.
At the same time, Smart Farming approach surged in developed countries. Boosting in one hand, the global tendency by high quality standards, competitiveness and efficiency represent some of the most important drivers of the sustainable agricultural production strategies for its sustained growth. On the other hand, the challenger to production of more food. Smart farming (SF) is associated to high-tech farming that is expected to play a crucial role in the sustainable development of the agricultural sector due to the use of sensors and actuators on the cyber-physical system.
In the same way, in Mexico academic research and development in horticultural sustainable have involved Mexican universities, which raises the integration of automatic control technologies in smart greenhouses, as a mechanism to move towards the sustainability of protected horticulture. Moreover, tomatoes are the main agricultural product obtained by protected agriculture, represents 70% of the national agricultural products produced in protected agriculture (greenhouses and shade-houses). Tomatoes exports positioned Mexico as the world's leading exporter with a market absorption rate of 20.9% during 2016. Therefore, tomatoes ‘greenhouse production is considered an area of opportunity for the development of protected sustainable horticulture in Mexico that justifies its selection as showcase of this project.
Mostly, focusing in the Mexican agriculture, was detected as main problem the lack of a sustainable development of the agricultural sector. Identifying the next five key causes: (i). low agricultural growth, (ii). poverty in rural families, (iii). depilation of natural resources in agricultural sector, (iv). unfavourable economic environment, and (v). weak institutional framework to generate policies that contribute to the development of the sector. As well as, key sub-causes, e.g. unemployment, lack of skills, lack productivity and inefficiency in the use of resources and GHG emissions reduction. it is worth mentioning that Mexican agriculture represents the second largest contributor to the GHG in Mexico in 2010 (12.3%) of the national GHG emissions.
Summarizing, the problem statement is that Greenhouses tomatoes’ production in Mexico is unsustainable, mainly due to inefficient use of resources, GHG generation and poor working conditions, among others. In order to boost the sustainable development, a transition strategy towards improving smart sustainable farming of the Horticultural sector in Mexico is proposed in the present research.
With the purpose of develop the strategy, in particular for the tomatoes produced by horticulture processes, in this section the research objective and research questions driving this project are here presented.
The main objective of this research project is to develop a strategy towards improve smart sustainable farming in the Mexican horticultural sector by using the production of tomato in greenhouse as a showcase.
In direct connection to the research objective, the main research question is formulated as follows: How to transit towards improve a more sustainable horticultural sector, particularly through a smart farming in the production of tomatoes in Mexico?