The European Union has approved its financial contribution to the LIFE 4DOÑANA project, an ambitious initiative with a budget of 2.2 million Euro and a duration of more than three years, which aims to promote efficiency in the irrigation of strawberries in the area of Doñana. The main goal behind this strategy is to reduce the use of water resources and fertilizers by introducing new irrigation management systems and technologies, thereby helping protect the Doñana Natural Area.
LIFE 4DOÑANA aims to increase water productivity by reducing its use by 20%, cutting the use of fertilizers by 10% and improving the yields. The project will also have a monitoring committee with representatives of the sector, as well as members of the administrations with powers in the matter and from research centers.
The project entails a firm commitment to the legacy of Ferdoñana, a project launched in 2016 by the Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture and promoted by international agri-food companies such as the Coca Cola Foundation, Danone, Tesco, Coop, Marks & Spencer, Migros, SVZ, Innocent Drinks and Iberfruta.
Innovative technology to reduce the use of water and fertilizers
The main objective of LIFE 4DOÑANA is to demonstrate and evaluate the environmental, productive and economic benefits for soil crops of a new Irrigation Decision Support System (DSS). This method, based fundamentally on on-demand irrigation techniques for soil cultivation, is strongly innovative. There is active guiding, automating and monitoring of the fertigation process based on the needs detected through a network of sensors, without the producers needing to make routine manual adjustments.
One of the project's key activities will be the launch of six demonstration farms for irrigation on demand, where innovative tools and technologies will be applied with the idea of providing the necessary and adequate amounts of water and nutrients to the crops at all times.
The project will also serve to provide direct advice to at least 40 strawberry producers in the area, with the idea of helping them reduce their water use. There will be a diagnosis of their irrigation systems and specific plans will be developed through the use of the specialized software Irristrat. These actions will be complemented with the development of a virtual platform that will offer free training and advice to producers in the area, as well as with the implementation of replication and transfer initiatives in France and Portugal.
For more information: www.ferdonana.es