World Earth Day is a time to reflect on our impact on the environment and find ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Agriculture is one sector that has the potential to significantly reduce environmental impact, making it an important area of focus for sustainability efforts.
DEMETER Pilot 5.1 focused on implementing digital solutions that help apple and grape growers go green by reducing pesticide and water usage, improving supply chain transparency, and increasing efficiency.
Modern agriculture production implies excessive usage of certain inputs like pesticides and water for irrigation, thus leading to soil and air pollution, habitat destruction and overall a negative environmental impact. Moving agriculture from experience-based to number-based activities, through the introduction of new technologies, will consequently reduce our environmental footprint, saving biodiversity while at the same time supporting adequate food production.
Apple and grape producers, under pilot 5.1, use IoT based services to improve their everyday practice. Advice on the right time to apply pesticides was defined based on integrated expert modules for pest and disease management, leading to a reduction in pesticide usage by 15%. This means lower air and soil pollution, improved crop quality and less contamination of underground water.
Using expert analysis for irrigation optimization based on real time parameters, recommendations on when and how to irrigate crops were also created, helping producers avoid under or overirrigation. A reduction of water usage by 13% was recorded as a result, not only saving water as a precious natural resource, but also reducing the leaching of nutrients from the soil and soil degradation. Together, the achieved results contribute to a smaller environmental footprint in apple and grape production.
Digital solutions like the DEMETER Pilot 5.1 have the potential to significantly increase sustainability in agriculture, reduce waste, and improve crop yields by providing timely decisions to farmers.
For more information on DEMETER Pilot 5.1: https://h2020-demeter.eu/pilots-overview/pilot-cluster-five/disease-prediction-and-supply-chain-transparency-for-orchards-vineyards/