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Hydroponics gains ground in Chile's desert

Fernando Salinas Colque, a farmer from Chile, has launched an innovative initiative for the hydroponic cultivation of strawberries in the sector of Altos La Portada in the desert region of Antofagasta. According to the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, which sponsored the project, the crop consists of 3,500 plants that are expected to yield 3.5 tons of strawberries.

“The strawberries initiative seeks to optimize 50% of the water by using coconut fiber, appropriate pest control, and technical irrigation. This is complemented by the hydroponic fertilizers that create, an area in which I have more than seven years of experience,” Salinas said. "Demonstrating that this fertilizer works on coconut fiber would encourage farmers to make changes and see this as a viable alternative," he stated.

According to Valeska del Pilar Alcayaga, FIA representative in the area, modernization with coconut substrate goes beyond testing a crop, it's adapting to climate change and achieving greater water efficiency in a region located in the driest non-polar desert on Earth, Atacama.



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