Spain: Saving 515 million litres of water in tomato cultivation

Since 2014, the "Solís Responsable" ("Responsible Solis") initiative has allowed Nestlé to save 515 million litres of water in the integrated production of all tomatoes used as raw material at its plant in Miajadas (Caceres), equivalent to the monthly consumption of a population of 118,000 people.

Nestlé's Environmental Sustainability expert, Pedro Ruiz, has taken stock of this project during the National Environmental Congress (Conama), held in Madrid since last Monday.

"Solís Responsable" is focused on nutrition, local cultivation and environmental protection. All the tomatoes used as raw material at the plant in Miajadas come from fields in the Vega del Guadiana, bringing the supply radius to fewer than 50 kilometres. Moreover, the production techniques used are governed by the Integrated Tomato Production Standard for Industrial Transformation of the Region of Extremadura and is endorsed by a Certificate of Conformity, issued by an accredited entity, at each stage of the production chain: cultivation, first transformation and elaboration of sauces.

"With this project, we have demonstrated that a balanced product, with a natural flavour and without preservatives, is perfectly compatible with the protection of the environment and with the development of local agriculture. To this end, we have collaborated with growers who supply us with tomatoes to ensure the application of environmentally-friendly techniques, focusing especially on minimising the use of irrigation water, controlling pests rationally and using fertilisers properly," emphasised. Pedro Ruiz.

The use of irrigation water has been reduced by 9% by setting up sensors that keep track of soil moisture and the harvest stage. Furthermore, the field is fertilised depending on the needs of the tomatoes and the soil is allowed to rest in a cyclical way with crop rotation. This technique has made it possible to reduce the use of fertilisers by 16%.

Since 2014, "Solís Responsable" has also entailed a 13% reduction in the use of pest control products, since "we are committed to having a more natural and environmentally-friendly production process for our crops, "said the Nestlé Environmental Sustainability expert. 
Also, the integrated tomato production enforced at the Nestlé factory in Miajadas has resulted in a 30% reduction in water consumption and a 23% reduction in the amount of waste per tonne produced.
This way, Solís obtains a high quality raw material through the use of methods and practices that respect the environment and ensure a more sustainable agriculture in the long term.


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