A total of 300 new “white” irrigators from the Laja-Diguelin Canal were trained by professionals from the Water Technology Consortium (CoTH) for irrigation techniques and new crops.TwoO), from Corfu, who heads the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Concepción (FIAUdeC) in the framework of the program of the National Irrigation Commission (CNR), “Training and support for new irrigators of the Laja-Diguelin Canal” .
The general objective of the programme, carried out during 18 months, was to improve the competitiveness of the productive systems of the new irrigators of Bullnes and San Ignacio, in the Ñuble region, through their inclusion in existing water communities, through organizational strengthening and the construction of irrigation capacities. For this, they were given technical training by guiding them in the use of new crops and efficient irrigation systems.
Building capacity in irrigation is key for these growers, who make up a fraction of about two thousand “whites.” Laja-Diguelin CanalWho had to wait for two decades to get water from the mega-project, as it was only two years ago that projects started to be undertaken with the aim of providing irrigation facilities to some groups.
This Dr Octavio Lagosdirector of the Water Technology Consortium and coordinator of this program, explained that “one of the objectives of the consortium is the transfer of irrigation technologies, that is why we are introducing this project to train farmers in two major areas: irrigation technologies and new crops are what we are looking for.” that white farmers, who are beginning to access water, are prepared and understand the changes that will come when they switch to irrigated crops.”
Dr. Lagos, who is an academic in the Water Resources Department of the UdeC Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, explained that the smallholder farmers “were trained in units, among other issues such as: soil preparation, new crops under plastic, low water demand, large and small fruit trees, and Certain crops such as potatoes under sprinkler irrigation -and fertigation, where production can be greatly increased-, among others”.
He emphasized the positive results achieved in the training sessions and pointed to the value of field days and the development of technical support materials. He asserted that “the most practical activities in the field, learning by doing, are the ones that work the most, the ones people like the most. Basically, those who are learning learn more about what the teacher teaches them.” manages to understand well. Therefore, the method we usually use has a very important practical component, there are many activities where farmers build irrigation systems with their hands, for example, they install pumps, solar Moves the pump with the panel, irrigates with the sprinkler system. , That is, they practice with their own hands which we try to transfer them to the theoretical classes that have these programs.”
In San Ignacio, a small farmer in the San Pedro sector, Mariela del Valle commented that “some of the whites, little by little, are starting to get us some water; Therefore, our duty is to learn how to irrigate (…) The training was excellent with a very good and welcoming team” and emphasized that “Agriculture comes from the field to our table and for this to happen, there is water. Without vital water, we are nothing, so it is everyone’s duty to take care of it.”
Likewise, CNR’s Biobío-Ñuble zonal coordinator, Jorge Muñoz, pointed out that “we are very happy to know that there was a large participation of women in this program and we are sure that all the knowledge gained will be fully utilized. We would like to thank each and every one of them for their confidence and interest and we wish them a great irrigation season.”
For his part, César Rodríguez, the Secretary of Agriculture of the Ñuble region, indicated that “the effort of the CNR and the regional government of Ñuble is significant, because they want to introduce peasant family farming into an agriculture that should be different, which is natural resources, sustainability and climate- The focus is on maintaining smart agriculture.