FERTINNOWA Conference’s objective, which will be held from 3 to 5 October in the Congress and Exhibition Center of Aguadulce (Almería), is to transfer the most innovative fertigation technologies aiming to contribute into the environmental and economic sustainability of European irrigation. For this, the consortium has organised a 3-day interactive program full of interesting talks and technological exhibitions to present some of the most efficient fertigation systems adapted to the needs of all European climatic zones, both for protected and outdoor crops.

The program includes the presentation of the “Fertigation Bible”, an ambitious report that has managed to gather, after several years of work, the description, analysis and environmental and economic evaluation of irrigation techniques used by farmers across Europe. The “Fertigation Bible”, which can be downloaded from FERTINNOWA’s website, offers to all the actors involved in the implementation chain of irrigation and fertilisation technologies (research centres, universities, advisors, companies, producers and distributors) the most up-to-date information on the most efficient fertigation techniques for each climate zone and for each crop management.

The speeches will be delivered by international experts, who will address innovation in fertigation in four major topics: pre-treatment, soil fertigation, soilless fertigation and post-treatment (focusing on reducing the environmental impact associated with the irrigation). In addition to purely technical topics, the imbalances on legislation, available technology and production in relation to the sustainable use of water and fertilisers in agriculture will be presented. The last day, 5 October, will be devoted to field visits to different production areas of the province of Almeria to find out about the greenhouse (soil and substrate) and outdoor production, nurseries, ornamental crops and a manufacturing company of agricultural plastics. In addition, participants will have a guided tour of the facilities of the desalination plants Campo de Dalías and Carboneras.

Interactive event
The FERTINNOWA Conference motto will be ‘Sharing good fertigation practices in Europe’ and will have a strong participatory character, loyal to the principles of this knowledge transfer platform, which was born three years ago to bridge the gap that prevents the transfer of the latest technologies to producers.

It is expected the participation of 30 farmers from the 10 countries that are part of the FERTINNOWA consortium, as well as entrepreneurs and technology providers from around the world who will present in Almeria some of the latest innovations in the fertigation sector. Participation in the conference is free, however, it is necessary to register on FERTINNOWA’s website. Simultaneous English / Spanish translation will be offered throughout the event (talks, technology exhibition area and field visits).

“We want to be useful, we want to share all the existing information and, above all, promote through knowledge exchange a new European model of fertigation management based on the criteria of sustainability, efficiency and savings,” explains Evangelina Medrano, researcher at the IFAPA Center La Mojonera and one of the organisers of the FERTINNOWA Conference. “In European countries, fertigated crops often suffer from water shortage, and the intensity of the crop potentially poses significant risks in water quality, so we should not delay the search for answers to these questions as it is at stake the competitiveness of the field,“ adds the IFAPA researcher.

FERTINNOWA is a thematic network focuses on the transfer of innovative techniques for sustainable water use in fertigated horticulture. For this purpose, FERTINNOWA collects, exchanges, displays and transfers best practices and innovative solutions for a more efficient use of water and nutrients that reduces the environmental impact associated with fertigated fruit and vegetable production systems. For the project, a direct link with producers and producer organizations, irrigation communities, policymakers, NGOs, environmental and consumer organisations is essential. All are part of the External Advisory Board of FERTINNOWA, a consulting body to advice throughout the project and evaluate its results.

The FERTINNOWA project receives European funding within the framework of the research and innovation promotion initiatives included in the Horizon 2020 program. The Spanish participation is represented by the Andalusian Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research (IFAPA), Fundación Cajamar, University of Almería, Center for Scientific and Technological Research of Extremadura (CICYTEX), Navarra Institute of Technologies and Infrastructures Agroalimentarias SA (INTIA), and the Valencian Institute of Agriculture Research (IVIA). In addition, public and private entities related to agricultural research and innovation from Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, France, Holland, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and South Africa participate in the project.