CITRA TRANSFERS IRRIGATION TECHNIQUES TO SMALL FARMERS IN LINARES

TRAINING ACTIONS SEEK TO IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY OF WATER USE, ACCORDING TO THE OBJECTIVES OF A PROJECT DEVELOPED JOINTLY WITH THE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT AND THE MUNICIPALITY OF LINARES.



April 26, 2016

More than 400 farmers from different sectors of Linares County benefit from the training on technological tools to improve efficiency in the irrigation of their plantations, which is being conducted by the Technology Transfer in Irrigation and Agroclimatology Research Centre (Citra) of our Corporation.

The initiative is called “Implementation of Satellite and Meteorology Technology to enhance the productivity, efficiency and management of water use in the agriculture of the Maule Region”, and this is carried out jointly with the Regional Government and the Municipality of Linares, with contributions from the Competitiveness Innovation Fund of the Region (FIC-R).

This project was launched in June of 2015 and it develops around three guidelines. The first considers the implementation of networks of automatic weather stations (EMAS, for its acronym in English) to know the water flow at specific points of the farmers’ plantings or crops, with an accuracy of up to 30x30 meters. Another axis includes the construction of an online virtual platform, called the Irrigation SAT, that through satellite images and by using energy balances, it can estimate the water demand for the basin to higher geographic levels.

The third line of the project corresponds to the implementation of demonstration plots, which consist in the transfer of technologies with basic tools to the farmer, so that he may know how to water efficiently, by integrating the factors of plant, atmosphere and soil.

Transfer

“We have the best technology available. The problem is that it doesn’t get efficiently to the small farmers, so there is improvement to do in the mechanisms of technology transfer, understanding the culture of the farmer, that is slow and requires a multidisciplinary work with psychologists and sociologists, and it is precisely this that has given us very good results”, explained Samuel Ortega, Director of the Citra. In that same context, he noted that “with the small farmers there are very simple things of great impact, like irrigation systems and their maintenance, which are inexpensive and simple”.

He said that if the goal is achieved, there would be a balance of demand-supply of the in-basin water resource for agriculture.

That way, it could improve the efficiency of water use through the implementation of a technology package, with tools to enable the farmer to improve his processes.

Beneficial Teaching

Sergio Encina, a farmer from the area of Palmilla, highlighted the work of the University in the field of technology transfer and the impact it implies on the grounds of small-scale producers. “What we have been taught is very helpful, because the water is scarcest every year, so that you can not waste even a single drop. From what was learned the idea is that we get specialized in the top technologies to structure and apply technology to our whole irrigation applications,” he said, after which he thanked “the support and training we receive from the Universidad de Talca”. For his part, Rodrigo Acosta, professional from Prodesal, in Linares County, said that, “for us the work done by the university is essential, because thanks to this project we received the information needed to optimize the use of water for the farmers. From this information we can generate models in order to improve and use the water better”.

Simple Techniques

In the demonstration plots, farmers are being trained in techniques that are simple and efficient, such as a homemade drum for water distribution with plastic sleeves, a manual technical to know the density of a determined irrigation to assess the frequency and amount of water to use.

Emilio Villalobos, agronomist from Citra and trainer in the aforementioned project, emphasized the role innovation plays in our Academic Institution regarding its ties with the community. “The importance of this work lies in the fact that climate change is one of the main problems that the rural world is facing today, then we need adaptation measures and to improve efficiency in the use of water, so the Universidad de Talca plays a key role in the transfer of technological packages and improvements in the community,” he said.



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