The intensive crop production sector in Europe is at a crossroads, where it is faced with the challenging task of finding the direction that leads into a sustainable future. Intensive irrigated agriculture is a major pillar of global and national food security and often the only driver of rural economies, while it is also the largest water consumer and a major soil and water polluter. More sustainable crop management strategies as well as new incentives and policies for ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and ecosystem services will be crucial if we are to meet the demands of improving yields without compromising environmental integrity or public health.
The challenge for sustainable crop production is to achieve optimized yield (in quantity and quality) and farm income with a minimum of inputs (nutrients, water, but also energy, pesticides, herbicides, money), while preserving the environment and nurturing flourishing social communities.
FATIMA project offers a comprehensive strategy for optimizing external input (nutrient and water) management and yield by:
• Harnessing leading-edge agronomic knowledge, crop modelling, and information and space technology in order to provide the farmer with easy-to-use timely information on the temporal and spatial variability/heterogeneity of crop input requirements,
• Spanning a wide range of direct practical applications, from very-high resolution precision farming for high-value crops to soil organic matter restoration practices, and enabling policies
• Including a socio-economic assessment of application ranges,
• Extending the concept of VRT to large areas and “low-tech” farms,
• Ready/easy to use for a wide range of farm types (with or without access to high-tech machinery), by means of tools fostering the direct connection to and between users/farmers,
• Designing innovative policy instruments for sustainable crop production that together with innovative technologies and participative approaches will promote the transition towards sustainable farming systems.
The main objective of FATIMA project is “to establish innovative and new farm tools and service capacities that help the intensive farm sector optimize its external input management (nutrients and water) and productivity, with the vision of bridging sustainable crop production with fair economic competitiveness.”