Spain: Coca-Cola promotes efficient fertigation of citrus
Coca-Cola has presented the project "Cítricos Sostenibles" ("Sustainable Citrus"); an initiative that seeks to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of Spain's citrus production through the promotion of efficient fertigation (fertilization and irrigation) in areas subject to water stress.
To be precise, this initiative, carried out jointly with the Universitat Jaume I of Castellon, inčdit, a spin-off company of the Park of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Agro-food Research and Technology Institute (IRTA) of the Government of Catalonia, seeks to save around 800 million litres of water in the next two years with its application in approximately 750 hectares in the Region of Valencia and the Province of Tarragona, with more than 50 producers involved.
The project is part of Coca-Cola's commitment to sustainable agriculture and, specifically, to the cultivation of citrus fruits. Every year, Coca-Cola buys 3.5 million kilograms of orange juice and 1.1 million kilograms of lemon juice from producers for the production of Fanta Orange and Fanta Lemon.
Previously, in 2015, Coca-Cola launched the "Fanta Guide of Good Sustainable Practices in the cultivation of citrus fruits" together with Frusa and inčdit, summarising in 11 points the actions that producers should implement in order to improve the productivity of their farms and minimise their costs in the framework of sustainable agriculture.
Furthermore, according to the Fanta Guide, the correct use of fertilisers reduces carbon footprint emissions by 23%, and reducing water consumption for irrigation entails reducing the production costs by 8.8 Euro per tonne of citrus.
"So far, during its first four months, the project has made it possible to save more than 58 million litres of water, and according to forecasts, a total of 344 million litres could be saved in the entire year, which is a saving of about 11%," highlights the multinational.
The project, targeted to producers in the Region of Valencia and the Province of Tarragona, will offer co-financing of the costs of the fertigation equipment and a technical assistance service to advise them, give them thorough support and help them start up some of the actions in crop fertilization and irrigation.
The producers participating in the project must collaborate in the follow-up of all agricultural operations for a correct evaluation of the initiative and will continue to report on the annual results of water savings during the following five years.
According to Ana Gascón, of Coca-Cola Iberia, "this project is part of Coca-Cola's commitment to sustainability across the entire value chain. The implementation of sustainable practices will reduce the economic costs and environmental impacts associated with citrus cultivation, while helping to preserve and improve rural jobs."
Moreover, this project is part of Coca-Cola's commitment to restore 100% of the water contained in its beverages to nature. Thus, in 2015, five years ahead of schedule, the company achieved this goal globally, becoming the first company on the Fortune list to achieve such a relevant water replenishment goal. In Spain, Coca-Cola managed to return more than 3,000 million litres to nature in 2016, which is 95% of the water contained in its products in Spain and Portugal.
Publication date: 10/30/2017
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