According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), 2,100 million people around the world do not have access to drinking water and the global population is going to increase by 30% between now and 2050, and as a result, demand for water and food are going to be increasing as well. Can we imagine a world without water?
Grupo La Caña, aware that the agricultural sector is the main consumer of water for food production and in countries such as Spain this percentage can hit 70%, wants to provide modern alternatives to irrigation for our farmers to be able to reduce the amount of water used for watering in farming operations.
One of them is the recently started research project «Efficient water use in fruit and vegetable greenhouse farming», where Grupo La Caña, through our company Eurocastell Caña, is working on the project alongside Cooperatives Agro-alimentarias de Andalucía-Granada, Centro Technológico TECNOVA, Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo del Alimento Funcional (CIDAF) and the Instituto Andaluz de Investigación y Formación Agraria, Pesquera, Alimentaria y de la Producción Ecológica (IFAPA), with these entities making up the so-called «2Grupo Operativo de Innovación» under the framework of the subsidies granted by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) for agricultural sustainability and productivity.
Our role focuses on putting the 3 irrigation systems studied by this project into practice, assessing possible differences on their water input, production achieved, quality parameters for the yields, strength and the phenological state of the plants. The kinds of systems studied are as follows:
Irrigation with drainage recirculation: allows drainage to be recovered, which flows into a pipe that takes it to a tank to then be reused for subsequent watering, mixing it with new fertiliser.
High frequency watering: watering frequent in small amounts, avoiding excessive watering that, on occasion, the plants do not know how to efficiently take advantage of.
Irrigation with underground drippers: system that is being tested on the ground, which is buried under the plants’ roots so they take in water and nutrients, minimising loss due to evaporation and flooding.
Each of these systems is equipped with drainage trays that tell you the amount of water drained, both per watering and per day. They also have monitoring software that lets you look at the data in real-time from any location with an internet connection.
The results from the project ending on December 2019 will reveal highly valuable information on how to achieve more precise use of water and fertiliser in our operations