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Chile : Project aims to reduce costs in the process of spraying fruit

The goal of the project being run by the Dayenu company and co-funded by the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA) is to develop an easy to use equipment at a competitive cost that, by being incorporated into the nebulizers currently used in fruit orchards, can control their spraying in real time.

The system, which is in its implementation stage, will reduce pesticide load by about 20%, thus having an exponential effect on health and the environment.

They also expect to decrease the amount of water used in the sprays by about 20% and have an equal decrease in fuel consumption.

The total national fruit orchards planted area according to statistics from ODEPA is 278,462 hectares, being second only to that destined for the annual crops that amounts to 689,200.

Fruit exports account for over 40% of total shipments made by the agricultural sector. Last year they amounted to US$ 4.075 billion, a 13% increase over 2010.

"These projects are part of the need to increase this sector's competitiveness, because of its relevance in the agricultural sector, through lower costs and greater environmental sustainability," said Loreto Burgos, FIA innovation executive and project supervisor.

Ines Zamora, project coordinator, explained that they were developing a modular design concept with varying degrees of automation and cost to control nebulizers typically used in Chile at fruit orchards.
"We are incorporating sensor technology that, after recognizing the presence of trees, sprays them thus saving pesticide and water. We've already been called by Peru and Argentina where they are interested in replicating the system," said Agnes.

The first step in achieving this was to analyze the agricultural machinery for spraying available in Chile focusing on the quantity and nebulizer models. Upon having this information, they established technical specifications, ranked different alternatives, and choose a modular design concept for the automated control of spraying so as to access the largest market share.


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