13 April 2016 - 5 Nisan 5776 - ה' ניסן ה' אלפים תשע"ו
Technology solutions help farmers tackle drought in Asia E-mail

Drip irrigation technology from Israel is seen as a possible solution for drought-hit farmers in Asia, especially in India and Thailand, as it could increase water usage efficiency to almost 100%.

The idea was floated at a seminar hosted by the Bangkok based National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) in January, at which agricultural researchers from Israel introduced “fertigation” technology – fertilising and watering plants using drip irrigation.

Naftali Lazarovitch, an Israeli scientist from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, stated that the fertigation technique was a very efficient way to grow almost every kind of plant as it used less water and could increase yields.

He said the technology was developed because Israel’s arid conditions meant conventional farming was impossible in large parts of the country. “So 70% of farmland in Israel uses drip irrigation and the other 30% use sprinklers. By implementing fertigation, the plant can use 95% of the water directly, compared to less than 50% of the water in the conventional way of watering,” he said.

Uri Yermiyahu, a researcher from the Gilat Research Centre, said: “This technique can be implemented on almost every kind of plant, and the fertilising via the dripping water allows the plant to use the fertiliser directly. However, the nature of each plant is different, so there has to be an adjustment in the fertigation technique to suit each kind of plant.”

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