GIS - 25 October, 2018: The Gravity-Fed Drip Irrigation System, which forms part of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)-RAF5079 Project, aiming to enhance food security and increase income of vulnerable farmers, was launched yesterday during a ceremony at Bambous Virieux Multipurpose Complex. The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun, the Private Parliamentary Secretary, Mrs Deveena Boygah and other personalities were present at the event.
In his address, Minister Seeruttun highlighted that the Gravity-Fed Drip Irrigation System, requires no pump and is energy saving unlike the pressurised drip irrigation system which requires an electric or petrol driven pump. He enumerated some advantages of the system which are namely low pressure and low discharge of water, no wastage of water, direct flow of water to the root zone, improved crop yield and quality, low application of fertilisers through fertigation, and lower labour cost.
The Minister pointed out that the system is in line with Government’s commitment to protect the environment. He cautioned that farmers should watch their use of fertilisers and to reflect on their actions so as to mitigate the effects of pesticides and fertilisers on the environment and to preserve the planet earth for the future generations.
Furthermore, he underscored that the IAEA has financed the purchase of 25 gravity-fed drip kits, 250 m2 each, which is being implemented by the Resource Management Division with the collaboration of the Wooton Crop Research Station at 25 sites across the island. The Minister recalled that the IAEA has been partnering with the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (FAREI) since year 2001 by financing laboratory and field equipment, and capacity building in the peaceful use of isotopes in agriculture research staffs under Technical Cooperation Programmes.
The collaboration of IAEA has been beneficial to farmers in Mauritius to improving resource use efficiency of crops, in cropping-livestock systems, and also to protect soil and water resources for sustainable and climate-smart agriculture, underlined Minister Seeruttun.
For her part, the Private Parliamentary Secretary, Mrs Deveena Boygah, underlined that FAREI is giving training on the gravity-fed drip system components, operation and maintenance, to enable small planters get an in-depth knowledge of this new system so that they can in turn install same in their fields. She urged the small planters to avail of this facility and to benefit from the advantages of the system thereby enhancing their crop production.
The IAEA’s project entitled “Enhancing crop nutrition and soil and water management and technology transfer in irrigated systems for increased food production and income generation” is a continuation of the IAEA- RAF 5071 project initiated in March 2014. The aim is to enhance food security and resilience of smallholder farmer through climate change adaptation, mitigation, and coping strategies in 16 African countries.
Gravity-Fed Drip Irrigation System
The Gravity-Fed Drip Irrigation System requires no pump. It is easy to install, operate and maintain. It is a low pressure drip system suitable for small plots of land of up to 1250m2 with flat topography. The water tank is fixed at a height of 1.0 to 1.5 m on concrete blocks.
The objectives of the System are to improve income generation and livelihood of poor farmers, more precisely women and vulnerable groups through the enhanced production of vegetable crops under gravity drip irrigation/fertigation technology; to enhance irrigation water management strategies through the use of the Food and Agriculture Organisation developed Aquacrop Model and isotopic O-18 studies; and to enhance crop nutrition via the development of appropriate fertigation strategies through the use of isotopic N-18 analysis.
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