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Project Methodology


The project has four logical components (the development of each of the above listed tools). Each component is a “work package, that is further divided into “tasks”.

The first work package (WP1) is a review of present situation, both resources and expected requirements, in the most important horticultural areas in the Mediterranean basin. The estimate of the expected requirements will be coupled to the development of realistic fertigation recipes for the major horticultural crops.

The second work package (WP2) will consider greenhouse management (climate and irrigation) strategies that make it possible to mitigate the negative effect of low-quality irrigation water, once this effect (yield response to salinity) is quantified for the most important crops.

Work package three (WP3) will give structure to existing information on water saving techniques and installations (such as rain-harvesting, use and upgrade of waste water; new irrigation techniques; new crops and crop combinations) and link their efficiency to climate and other regional factors. We will determine a strategy for the management at farm level of multiple-quality water-resources.

Work package four (WP4) will provide a tool for irrigation and fertigation management. An analysis of expected effects on yield quantity and quality will be translated into a decision support system (DSS) for growers. The Decision Support System will contain simulation modules of the relevant processes at farm level (WP2 and WP3). It will be able to perform a multi-objective optimisation, suggesting a ranking of strategies for the best allocation of restrictions to different farming structures with the aim of maximising rewards. The work of the previous work-packages will be assembled into models or blue-print rules to be used by the DSS of WP4. 


Links between Workpackages


WP1 develops the classical approach to deal with fresh water shortage by studying means to improve water use efficiency by adjusting application to need. The first step establishes water and nutrient demand as a function of production targets. The method of investigation to achieve this result is through chemical analysis of plants producing high yields under optimum nutrient supply. The next step involves development of management procedures to match water and nutrient delivery with the desired level of plant uptake. The purpose of this task stems from the long warm and sunny season in the Mediterranean region. As optimum growing conditions under intensive cropping imply a leaching fraction to evacuate residual solutes from the growing medium, a task dealing with environmental issues is an essential part of the project.
WP2 develops ways to handle the negative effects of saline water. As toxic and osmotic processes cause the stress due to saline irrigation, it considers the solute balance in the plant and in the root growth medium to find the causality leading to response functions. This approach provides a scientific platform for the investigation of the climate management procedures and for the applications.

WP3 engages with practical agronomic-engineering on-farm operations, which affect the exposure of plants to solutes, in contrast with the physiological, chemical and physical investigation in WP1 and WP2. It provides the means to implement rapidly current knowledge and to adjust growing methods to new findings.

WP4 prepares the framework for integrating partial knowledge into applications, while WP1 and WP2 develop bits and pieces of new information about ways to deal with low quality water. It will also maintain and improve the communication channel between newly acquired information and the growers. All partners are aware of the stated objective of the INCO-MED programme to contribute to the sustainable development of the Mediterranean countries. It is in view of this that the dissemination of the results is an explicit item of the project plan.


      Read the detailed methodology about the workpackages: WP1 , WP2 , WP3 , WP4

 INCO-MED :International Cooperation   Contract number : ICA3-1999-00009 - HORTIMED