Approaches to meet the coming challenges in irrigation

Prof. José Enrique Fernández Luque /IRNAS-CSIC (Seville-Spain)

We address main responses from the scientific and technical communities to the challenges that irrigators meet for ensuring food security in a context of growing population and climatic threat. Basically, more food, fibre and biofuel must be produced at the same time than the environment is preserved and fair profits for the growers are guaranteed. We focus on precision irrigation as a way to achieve such purpose, and analyse different scientific and technological approaches contributing to the success of precision irrigation. In addition to giving an overview of state-of-the-art sensors and related systems, we describe current trends to improve both their performance and appeal to growers. We, actually, analyse the reasons behind the poor level of adoption of these technologies by growers, and how that situation can be reverted. Finally, we consider different types of agriculture and to what extent they may allow us to meet the identified challenges. More precisely, we compare industrial agriculture with integrated agriculture, and consider the so called sustainable intensive agriculture as a way to find a suitable balance between main requirements impose to irrigated agriculture.