Evaluation of water- energy- food nexus in agricultural products of Dehgolan County

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Agroecology, Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Environment and Natural Resources Economics Department, Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Today, agricultural resource management is a fundamental task for managers and planners due to the need to address the challenging issues between the supply and demand sectors. Accordingly, many researchers have emphasized that water, food, and energy in the world are experiencing significant stress and scarcity, and demand for these resources will increase significantly in the coming decades. The main purpose of this study is to provide a method for decision-makers in analyzing the link between water, energy, and food in the crop production system at the regional level and to perform a quantitative evaluation of it, which can be used to create a suitable and optimal cultivation pattern with pay attention to the available resources of the area.
Material and methods: The present study was conducted to evaluate the water-food-energy relations of agricultural products in Dehgolan County. The required data were collected through face-to-face interviews with farmers and agricultural jihad statistics. The method of this paper was based on six indicators of water and energy consumption, mass productivity of water and energy, and economic productivity of water and energy. Based on these indicators, a water-food-energy index (WFENI) was calculated for each product. This method was applied to evaluate 7 main crops of wheat, potato, alfalfa, cucumber, barley, carrot, and rapeseed in water farms of Dehgolan County in the years 2019-2020.
Results and discussion: The results of data analysis showed that alfalfa and potatoes had the highest water consumption (13131 cubic meters per hectare) and energy (85404 megajoules per hectare), respectively. Barley had the lowest water consumption (4197 cubic meters per hectare) and energy consumption (31394.4 megajoules per hectare). The use of chemical fertilizers had the largest share in the energy sector (except alfalfa). In the alfalfa crop, due to high mechanization operations, machinery had the largest share of energy consumption. Carrot was the most productive in water consumption (7.08 kg/m3) and energy (1.03 kg/mJ). Also, the lowest water and energy efficiency for canola (0.44 kg/m3) and energy (0.06 kg/MJ) were obtained. In the economic index of water and energy productivity, the highest values were obtained for cucumber (92959 Rials per cubic meter) and carrot (13202 Rials per megajoule), respectively. The lowest economic efficiency of water and energy was calculated 1549 Rials per cubic meter for carrots and 10688 Rials per megajoule for canola. This study showed that the WEFNI was calculated 0.86, 0.73, 0.51, 0.41, 4 / 0, 0.3, and 0.26 for carrot, cucumber, potato, wheat, barley, canola, and alfalfa crops , respectively, in Dehgolan city. Carrots received the highest WFENI score (best score) and alfalfa the lowest (worst score). Although potato, which is one of the water crops with a high level of cultivation in the region, had high water and energy consumption, due to its high physical productivity and economic productivity, it obtained the third score of the total index.
Conclusion: In this study, agricultural products were compared based on indicators of water and energy consumption, physical productivity of water and energy, and economic productivity of water and energy. Based on these indicators, the water, food, and energy link index were calculated. The results can also be used as an effective tool to determine appropriate strategies for cultivation patterns, management of water and energy resources in the region, and a basis for planning and agricultural policies in the county.


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