Sustainable management of irrigation and fertilization in quinoa
The adequate management of water and fertilization is critical to optimize yield, within the limits established by the climate and the availability of resources. Even though quinoa is recommended as an efficient crop in terms of its use of water and nitrogen an evaluation of responses to these variables at the crop physiology level shows significant gaps between actual yields and those limited by these factors. These gaps expose significant inefficiencies in crop management. These inefficiencies lead to lower profits and reduced food security, particularly for small scale farmers and subsistence agriculture. There are parallel gaps in knowledge, as most of it was generated at the plant level of reference or lower, of reduced utility for decision making. This project aims to reduce these gaps by producing scientific knowledge under field conditions and for a wide geographic range, encompassing ~ 25 % of the total quinoa cultivation area in South America. This knowledge will be used for the creation of three informatics tools which are expected to become critical references for quinoa management. These tools are: 1) the Cronos-quinoa model, to establish the best combinations of genotypes and sowing dates in each cropping environment, 2) the Aquacrop-quinoa model, to benchmark yield responses to water availability and 3) a Fertilization Calculator, to estimate nitrogen demand under each water availability scenario. Farmers, agronomist, technicians and students related to quinoa cultivation will be trained in the use of these tools, which will be made freely available through the web pages of the institutions involved in this proposal
The technological solution
The main objective of the project is to optimize water and nitrogen magament in quinoa through the generation and transfer of an online latinamerican tool for the agronomic management of the crop. This will be achieved trough the calibration of three simulation models: Cronos-quinoa, Aquacrop Quinoa and a fertilization calculator for quinoa cultivation environments from Interandean Valleys in Ecuador to Southern Chile. The use of these models by farmers, technicians and researchers will assist the selection of genotypes and sowing dates in each of the regions affected by the project, determine scenarios for yield and water use under potential and rainfed conditions and adjust nitrogen demands to water availability through the generation of an online fertilization calculator.
The expected results are the reduction of yield gaps linked to inadequate irrigation and fertilization management in quinoa. Through the improvement in irrigation and fertilization techniques, the water-limited yield boundaries will be reached. To do this, the generation of knowledge will be combined with the development of online tools freely accesible by farmers, technicians and reseearchers in the agriculture field. The environmental impact of agriculture arising from the inadequate or excesive use of water and nitrogen will also be reduced. The yield increase linked to a more efficient resource use will contribute to an improvement of farmers quality of life, by improving their farm profits.
The beneficiaries of this project are distributed across the three countries (Chile, Peru and Ecuador) where the technologies developed by the project will be applicable. These are the Interandean Valleys in Ecuador plus low altitude coastal environments from Peru to Southern Chile. There are already 1560 benefitiaries confirmed: 890 in Chile, 70 in Ecuador and 600 in Peru. For Chile they include:(1) The Institute for Agruculture Development (INDAP) Los Rios, with 500 farmers involved in quinoa production, (2) Agroforestal La Esperanza in Temuco, Chile (20 beneficiaries), (3) the company Promauka in Paredones, O' Higgins (20 beneficiaries), (4) the company Agrogen in Temuco (20 beneficiaries), (5) the Program for Economic Associativity (PAE) from Maule (12 farmers), (6) the Program for Farmers Support at Vilcun (18 farmers) and (7) the Program for Regional Innovation at the Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia (250 beneficiaries). For Peru: (8) the company Recrias Americana SAC from Areguipa (20 beneficiaries).(9) the company JIWRA SAC from Arequipa (200 farmers) , (9) the National Institute for Agriculture Technology (INIA) at Cuzco (200 beneficiaries) and (10) the Company Control Union Peru SAC in the Departments of Huancavelica, Ayachucho and Apurimac (300 farmers). Finally for Ecuador small farmers organized into APROSANAMY (a seed and food producers association (70 farmers distributed into 18 communities)
Sustainable Development Goals
- Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) - Argentina
- Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) - Chile
- UACH - Chile
- Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM) - Perú
- Universidad Nacional de Loja (UNL) - Ecuador
- Universidad de Talca (UTALCA) - Chile