ISIS PROJECT KICK-OFF MEETING, IN EGYPT
The ISIS project kick-off meeting took place on 6 and 7 March in Egypt with the participation of AgriSat, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas – ICARDA , Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Oficial), Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha and Easy Test.
In these two days we have agreed on the next steps in the ISIS project funded by CDTI.
This project addresses sustainable agriculture, food production and water management, focusing on the sustainable optimisation of agricultural water and nutrient management in areas affected by water scarcity and nitrate pollution that are vulnerable to climate change.
In Egypt, already 80% of water resources are currently used in agriculture and over-fertilisation is common. This extremely unsustainable situation exemplifies other areas of the Mediterranean region and the world.
The overall objective of the ISIS project is to develop and validate a set of tools to help farmers and land and water managers optimise water and nutrient management to move towards a more sustainable social and environmental outcome.
Once adapted to the Egyptian environment, these tools will make it possible to determine crop water and nutrient demands over space and time, and thus adjust the external supply of water and nutrients, especially nitrogen, to these crop demands.
This, in turn, will help farmers to optimise their economic benefit and reduce potential nitrate pollution, taking into account the different soil fertility.
The methodology is based on the integration of Copernicus remote sensing (multispectral time series data) and meteorological data into classical water and nutrient balances, which in turn allows maps of crop water and nutrient requirements to be obtained. These maps are the starting point for irrigation (one week in advance) and fertilisation recommendations (pre-sowing and mulching), ready for application in the field by machinery capable of applying variable doses over large areas. The delivery of information to farmers is done via webGIS and/or mobile application.
ISIS tools will be validated in central Egypt (Beni Suef). Farmers in these areas are expected to benefit from adjusting the use of irrigation water and fertilisers to the needs of their crops, both economically (higher profits) and environmentally (protection of soil and water resources).
On a larger scale, these trials and validations have the potential to bring benefits to higher education in agricultural sciences as well as to the agricultural industry.
The tools that the ISIS project plans to apply respond to the international ambition to optimise resource use and climate change mitigation goals by limiting nitrogen use.
In the European Union, the ambition is clearly defined in the Green Deal and internationally it is included in the Sustainable Development Goals.