The La Mayora Experimental Station, which is part of the Subtropical and Mediterranean Hortofruticulture Institute (IHSM) formed by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the University of Malaga (UMA), is carrying out various projects and actions that deal with achieve a more efficient use of water resources and related issues. At least, this is what the Government of Spain points out in a response to a question from the PSOE senator from Malaga, Miguel Ángel Heredia, about what projects the Malaga research center is carrying out to achieve that more efficient use of irrigation.
The Government lists five specific projects. Thus, according to the executive's response, La Mayora has recently participated in a plan funded by the European Union (H20202-EU Grant 691402) to explore the possibility of using recycled wastewater for the irrigation of fruit trees and vegetables.
The senator of the PSOE, Miguel Ángel Heredia, demands more support from the Board and believes it is essential to increase irrigation
In addition, currently, there is funding to carry out actions focused on the implementation of technologies and the obtaining of varieties of plants that allow cultivations in which the increasingly scarce water resources for irrigation are optimized or that allow the use of poorer quality waters.
In this sense, he mentions the project RTI2018-102222-A-I00, funded by the State Research Agency, which studies the anatomy and physiology of subtropical fruit trees from the perspective of the transport and redistribution of nutrients and their relationship with efficient use of water by the plant. Its ultimate goal is to reveal the phenotypic characters of fruit trees that allow them to produce more fruits with less water consumption in the current climate change scenario.
It also carries out two Technological Innovation projects financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of the Junta de Andalucía. In these IFAPA-Junta de Andalucía projects, the IHSM collaborates by generating information on the water retention capacity of various artificial substrates for hydroponics and on the impact of soil-plant water flow on the water balance, on production. and in the quality of the tomato crop harvest (ref. PP.AVA.AVA2019.039); and in the search for strategies for the sustainable cultivation of avocado, the control of root rot and the improvement of water productivity (ref. PP.AVA.AVA2019.008).
Another project is called AGL2017-82452-C2-1-R, funded by the State Research Agency. In this, the IHSM participates in the study of ionic transporters involved in the tolerance to salinity of tomato and citrus. Knowledge of the function of these ion transporters will allow to lay the foundations for the future obtaining of new varieties through genetic improvement that are capable of consuming salinized waters that are unusable by current cultivars.
Finally, the Supra-autonomous Operational Group for Rural Development 2018002000-6986 'Operational Group for Avocado Innovation', funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and in which La Mayora participates, where the IHSM participates in the optimization of the systems irrigation in avocado through the use of ultra-low flow drippers and digital soil moisture sensors, which allow significant water savings for this expanding subtropical crop in the coastal regions of Andalusia and the Valencian Community.
Senator Miguel Ángel Heredia has valued the importance of the studies carried out in La Mayora, although he has demanded more regional support from the agricultural sector of Axarquía in its commitment to quality, innovation and sustainability in production, and has considered it essential to increase water resources for irrigation in the area. In this sense, it has been asked where are the works promised by the PP to guarantee the irrigation of the subtropics in the Axarquía?
Regarding the connection between the La Concepción dam and the Viñuela reservoir as a solution to irrigation recently announced by Elías Bendodo, he pointed out that it is a work for drinking water and therefore it will not allow the transport of surpluses that are now dumped into the sea from La Concepción without cleaning up to the Axarquía dam.
For Heredia, the diversification of products has led to the introduction of avocado and mango in the Axarquía, which are combined with the traditional raisin. "All this has placed Axarquía at the forefront in tropical products at a time when they are increasingly in demand by the markets and essential within a healthy lifestyle, generating employment and wealth for the area," according to Heredia, for who is necessary to increase water resources for irrigation in the area.