Multi-criteria Evaluation of Bran Use to Promote Circularity in the Cereal Production Chain
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Cereal production, as well as other agricultural activities, has a relevant impact on the environment contributing to produce negative externalities. Furthermore, it is wasteful, increasing the pressure on the environment, without any utility, and reducing the economic performance of producers. This is particularly evident in regions, like Basilicata and Puglia (located in Southern Italy), where cereal production represents an important quota of regional economy. In order to reduce waste, it is necessary to redefine the cereal production chain, to improve its efficiency and to reduce the ecological footprint of the production, helping, at the same time, farmers to improve their economic performance. Bran is an output of cereal production that is generally wasted; however, it can be used as an input to other production chains. Finding new market opportunities for bran can be a successful strategy to promote circularity of the cereal chain achieving a better balance between social, environmental and economic aspects. To promote a circular production pattern, this study evaluated three different alternative projects for bran use (i.e., paper production, biogas and feed), by using multi-criteria analysis as a tool for local authorities to evaluate projects promoting circular economy. Involving all representative stakeholders of the cereal production chain, the results show ability to achieve the best solution (in this case the biogas one) in order to increase bran utility, implementing the sustainable development of rural areas.
KeywordsCircular economy Multi-criteria analysis Rural development Bran uses
This research was carried out in the framework of the project “Smart Basilicata” (Contract n. 6386 - 3, 20 July 2016). Smart Basilicata was approved by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (Notice MIUR n.84/Ric 2012, PON 2007-2013 of March 2, 2012) and was funded with the Cohesion Fund 2007–2013 of the Basilicata Regional authority. The authors are thankful to the anonymous reviewers and the Editor-in-Chief John Carranza and Special Issue Guest Editor Mauro Viccaro for their relevant comments and constructive suggestions, which helped us to improve the overall quality of the manuscript.
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