Agroecological tomato practices cut costs by 84%, Brazilian study shows

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Agroecological tomato practices cut costs by 84%, Brazilian study shows

A Brazilian agronomist has found pesticide-free agroecological tomato production can reduce costs by 84%, with fewer incidences of disease and lower maintenance levels, Agência Brasil reported.

Fábio Leonardo Tomas presented the results in his Master's thesis at the University of São Paulo, following a study in the Atlantic forest region of Apiai, assessing productivity, costs and profitability, the story reported.

"I assumed that the forest could be considered an agricultural input, an instrument of production," Tomas was quoted as saying.

"We could see that the rate of bacterial and fungal infections was much lower."

In terms of maintenance, the study found agroecological production had a cost per plant of BRL$0.80 ($0.50), compared to BRL$5 (US$3.19) with traditional farming.

The main setback was lower yield levels, which were less than half of their traditional farming counterparts.

In the marketplace the agroecological tomatoes sold at prices more than four times higher.

Tomas said crop performance was offset by the lower costs of production and higher income due to market price differentials, while the positive results could be applied to other products.

"We are sure the regulatory effect could serve other crops, because the forest has spiders and wasps, which are predators of pests," he was quoted as saying.

"The conventional producer often sees the forest within their property as a nuisance. He does not consider the forest as a support for economic activity."

Related story: Berkeley professor hails agroecology success for Chile apple project



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