Irritec has been warmly welcomed at the Water for Food International Forum – Farmer-led Irrigated Agriculture: Seeds of Opportunity, held on January 29th and 30th at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington DC. Speakers and participants from all over the world. African Government representatives, NGOs, Multilateral Development Banks and leading companies in water-saving technologies met to share their ideas, opinions and innovations, with the common goal of irrigating Africa to increase agricultural productivity.
Irritec was there on both of the event days with a booth to welcome their visitors. Furthermore, Giulia Giuffrè, Irritec Group Marketing Director, was invited to join the panel to discuss how the public sector and the private sector may work together to make drip irrigation sustainable for small-scale African farmers. 75% of African farmers are the so-called “Micky Mouse Farmers”, i.e. owning plots of max. 2Ha each. This makes the spreading of irrigation quite difficult in countries where the most common agronomic techniques may be unknown and crop productivity is low. In Africa less than 10% of the cultivated area is irrigated and just a very little portion of it by advanced techniques.
The event participants discussed about how irrigation innovation means distribution of reliable products which may increase productivity and give added value to crops, in order to improve transport and food distribution. Also, the several advantages of drip irrigation have been pointed out, for this method can reduce water consumption from 30% to 70% and increase productivity from 30% to 90%. It allows the use of saline water, reducing groundwater stress. It reduces cultivation time and improves weed control. It limits the interruption of agricultural activities throughout the year, increasing annual productivity by (up to) 50%. It improves the applications and benefits of nutrients, using fertigation, increasing yields by (up to) 20%.
«The public sector – said Giulia Giuffrè – needs to talk more with the suppliers, so as to share information and the needs of small farmers. What is important is to make the maintenance of the systems possible in the long run. To this end, Irritec can help in two ways: firstly, by training local professionals to provide assistance and become irrigation references and promoters; what is more, the company designs and develops high quality products that require minimal maintenance, such as eXXtreme tape which is the most plug-resistant dripline in the world. Irritec has a commitment to Africa: to spread the most effective and efficient irrigation solutions so that the lands of small-scale farmers can not only support their families, but rather become a source of income». The transformation of the food system is also essential to mitigate climate change, thanks to the reduction of the yield gap, the reduction of food waste and the development of healthy diets».
Irritec is among the first companies introducing drip irrigation products in Italy over 40 years ago. In addition to the five Italian factories, Irritec is present with production plants in Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and the United States becoming a reference for the irrigation sector in the international market. Important and strategic commercial branches are present in Algeria and Germany. Thanks to an efficient production network, consisting of different subsidiaries and thanks to a well-distributed sales network, Irritec products and services reach over 140 countries worldwide. The reliability and expertise of over 700 employees serving farmers and distributors all over the world.