European countries, especially in the Mediterranean area, need to encourage sustainable agriculture practices, reducing inputs, especially of water, and minimising any negative impact on fruit safety and quality. One of the most promising ways to improve the sustainability of irrigated agrosystems is to develop and optimise the orchard water management, adjusting water application for improved crop quality and assuring crop safety. In this sense, the topic of interest of IRRIQUAL project deal with the valuation of new irrigation practices (including water doses implementation, water quality use and fertigation management).
The research methodology will be based on the combination of experiments, field surveys and modelling tools aimed toward prediction of a given irrigation practice on the relevant inputs (water, fertilizers) and outputs (yield, fruit quality and safety) of several Mediterranean fruit trees species (Peach, Olive, Almond, Citrus). Previously to the establishment of such practices, a better knowledge of the effects of different irrigation strategies on crop physiological response, crop quality and crop safety are required.
The resulting recommendations on irrigation design and practices will be transferred to farmers by the elaboration of Irrigation Best Management Practices for each crop and localization. The resulting data will be transferred also to the irrigation industries by the development of new irrigation technology (including hardware and software components for an automated irrigation equipment), and the optimisation of the irrigation water disinfection using ultrasound.
<P> For more information about this project, please visit the <a
target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> or the <a
href="http://www.irriqual.com/" target="_blank">IRRIQUAL</a> Web sites.