Saturday 30 May 2020

Shared practices discussed during a conference on water efficient irrigation in agriculture

The importance of water in the agricultural sector was the main theme discussed in a conference aimed for persons involved in the agricultural sector. A number of foreign and local experts, and local farmers have come together to discuss the importance of water efficient irrigation in Maltese farming.

This conference entitled ‘Water Efficient Irrigation’, is part of the National Campaign for Water Conservation, WATER – Be the Change. Manuel Sapiano, CEO of the Energy and Water Agency, in his address highlighted the important role of all water users to maintain the use of water resources at sustainable levels despite continuous increasing water demands, particularly in a changing modern world whilst mentioning the importance of adapting to an ever-changing climate. He reiterated the importance of cooperation and active involvement, particularly of farmers and farmer representative organisations in programmes and consultation processes that will directly affect their efforts and production, such as the development of Malta’s third RBMP (River Basin Management Plan).

Interesting interventions from foreign speakers, gave the participants an opportunity to get a glimpse of what is happening in neighbouring countries, with similar natural conditions, and what technologies are available to improve efficiency in water irrigation. In fact, a number of foreign experts that research water management, irrigation and food production, gave presentations on the application of efficient irrigation in fields and greenhouses amongst other topics. Adriano Battilani from the acclaimed European organisation Irrigants d’Europe presented several opportunities for collaboration for various local agricultural organisations. Francesco Montesano from the National Research Council within the Institute of Sciences of Food Production and Giole Chiare from Acqua Campus Lab introduced participants to different efficient irrigation technologies to be used in greenhouses and open fields.

On the other hand, Malcolm Borg from the Centre for Agriculture, Aquatics and Animal Sciences, within MCAST, presented results of research that was done in collaboration with the Agriculture Directorate within the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights that will eventually be used to create the way forward to more efficient water management in the country. Whilst discussing different aspects pertaining to water, that the farmers face on a daily basis, the experts addressed the questions and concerns raised by the farmers who participated in the conference.

This conference was organised as part of the National Water Conservation Campaign, which is part-financed by the European Union under the Cohesion Fund – European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020. Further information can be found on www.water.org.mt.

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