Anticipating the challenges that the agricultural sector will have to face worldwide as a result of climate change, the Tecnova Foundation's Experimental Center, working in partnership with Edypro and Tecnova, has launched a project at European level for the development of new tomato production techniques.
The goal is to develop tomato varieties that are tolerant to combined hydric and nutritional stress, as well as to maximize the efficiency of water and nutrient use through the design and testing of new genotype combinations and crop management practices. This should help reduce the environmental impact of agronomic activity.
The study, co-financed through the Horizon 2020 Program, is the result of the Tomres project, commissioned by the European Union to a group of 25 research entities spread across the continent, including universities, research centers, agro-food companies and associations.
The choice of tomatoes is due to the fact that it is one of the vegetables with the highest consumption per kilo produced, although the objective is for these programs to be applied to the rest of the vegetables that are grown.
The tests have been carried out in 400 square meter plots in lands owned by the Tecnova Foundation in Almeria. They have consisted of the testing in tomato crops of two of the products developed by the firm Edypro, specifically Coupé Regeneración Plus and Procuaje Reticular.
The result of the field trials has been tomato crops performing really well in situations of abiotic stress.
Coupé Regeneración Plus restores soil quality by allowing for increased oxygen supply in the soil, which is often exhausted because of its permanent exploitation. It ensures an optimum balance between water, manure, soil and nutrients. It boosts the soil's cationic exchange capacity, which allows for better use of fertilizers. Furthermore, the presence of useful microorganisms is stimulated and the need for water is reduced by 30 to 50%.
Meanwhile, Procuaje Raticular works directly on the activation of the plant genome, significantly improving flower formation, increasing pollen levels and promoting the activity of pollinating insects.
The biotechnology company says that these are solutions that are compatible with organic farming. This was not one of the EU's requirements, but it is important for Almeria.