European Union Awards FIGARO Consortium EUR6 Million for New Precision Technologies to Improve Irrigation Management

The European Union (EU) has awarded FIGARO (Flexible and Precise Irrigation Platform to Improve Farm Scale Water Productivity), an international Consortium led by Netafim Ltd [http://www.netafim.com ] , EUR6 million to develop new precision technologies to improve irrigation management to increase water productivity in major water-demanding crops.

FIGARO researchers will focus their efforts on significantly reducing the use of fresh water at the farm level through developing a cost-effective, precision irrigation management platform. The European-wide consortium aims to develop a holistic and structured precision irrigation software platform which will offer farmers flexible, crop-tailored irrigation scheduling protocols.

« The software application of precision irrigation has a large potential to lead to savings of water energy and other inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, » said project coordinator Lior Doron, director of Crop Management Technology department at Netafim Ltd., a world leader in drip and micro-irrigation.

« By applying the platform that FIGARO plans to develop, the savings will be beneficial for farmers and other stakeholders. Investment decisions by farmers will benefit from a Cost Benefit Analysis. Regional managers will consider environmental impacts, both at the location of implementation and in the (downstream) area of influence where saved water might become available, » he added.

« The developed integrated and automated precision, irrigation management and decision-supporting tools, models and devices will allow for a substantial reduction in fresh water use in irrigated agriculture, » according to Prof. Pasquale Steduto of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [http://www.fao.org/index_en.htm ] (FAO), responsible for the bridge to end users and other stakeholders for the FIGARO Consortium.

« The project will also contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources and adaptation of agriculture to climate change. A more rational use of water tailored to specific and real time crop needs will also contribute to better quality yields, » he said.

Increased water demand caused by global population growth, coupled with global warming exacerbating current drought conditions in Europe, have resulted in dwindling fresh water resources. The misuse of the available fresh water resources across Europe threatens sustainable agricultural development and overall economic growth.

Governments are giving top priority to this issue, exploring special measures to sustain existing resources and ensure dependable supplies for the next generations. Maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of fresh water use in crop irrigation supports environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

« In order to develop a transferable system, it must be financially attractive to stakeholders in the short-medium term, » added Doron. « It must be practical and easy to implement by the direct end users, including farmers and agronomy consultants. »

About Netafim

Netafim is the global leader in drip and micro-irrigation solutions for sustainable productivity. With 27 subsidiaries, 13 manufacturing plants and more than 3,000 employees worldwide, Netafim delivers innovative and state-of-the-art solutions in more than 110 countries across the globe. Founded in 1965, Netafim pioneered the drip irrigation revolution, creating a paradigm shift toward low-flow agricultural irrigation.

Today, Netafim offers a wide range of irrigation and complementary solutions for agriculture, landscaping and mining. From drippers and dripperlines, through sprinklers and micro-emitters, to crop management technology (CMT) systems and greenhouse solutions. For more information, visit http://www.netafim.com.

About FIGARO

FIGARO is a Europe-wide research project that is co-funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Union.

FIGARO focuses on significantly reducing the use of fresh water at the farm level through developing a cost-effective, precision irrigation management platform. The Europe-wide consortium aims to develop a holistic and structured precision irrigation platform which will offer farmers flexible, crop-oriented management tools with a DSS (Decision Supporting System) module to optimize irrigation and fertilizer dosing.

The FIGARO consortium is industry driven as it is coordinated by Netafim and includes an additional six SME’s, most bringing expertise in precise irrigation-related technologies. The consortium is augmented by eight academic institutions, a regional authority and the FAO.

 

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