Agricultural water management

Location: Italy

Impact Area

  • Nutrition
  • Water
  • Rural Development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Compliance
  • Community engagement
  • Gender balance & diversity
Sep 18, 2012, updated September 2012

Agricultural water management
IRRIGATION PARTNERSHIP:Benjamin Ware, sourcing specialist at Nestlé, looks at a crop of tomatoes in Italy with Alessandro Piva, the agronomic service manager of Consorzio Interregionale Ortofrutticoli (CIO).

About 70% of global freshwater withdrawals are used for irrigation, yet inefficient irrigation and water management techniques, combined with evaporation, overuse of groundwater, and pollution from fertilisers and pesticides, all threaten the availability of fresh water and jeopardise food supply and health. Agriculture is facing unprecedented pressure to improving both the quantity and quality aspects of water management.    

Programme description

Nestlé Italy promotes with its suppliers modern irrigation technologies such as drip irrigation and soil moisture monitoring equipment which allow farmers to apply the exact quantity of water their crops need, increasing yields, minimising nutrient leakages into rivers and aquifers, and benefitting from lower costs. These methods were tested for locally grown vegetables for its Buitoni frozen vegetable range La Valle degli Orti.

Value to Society

Case studies collected in the Project involve potential environmental, social and economic benefits for:

  • Farmers: drip irrigation and management tools allow water saving, increased production and more quality of crops
  • Water authorities: management tools, new technologies  and more efficient water network can lead to huge water and economical saving
  • Consumers and industry should profit by these benefits because water saving in agriculture can lead to less competition between different uses
  • Agriculture institutions and associations could use the best practices described to draw water strategies and policies in agriculture

Value to Nestlé

Application of drip irrigation and management tools allowing water saving  to increase production and get more quality to Nestle fresh vegetables. Partners of Buitoni La Valle degli Orti adopted the sprinkle or rain irrigation method (56,5%) followed by the drop method (43%). None of the monitored agricultural companies are using inefficient methods such as scrolling and infiltration by grooves. Development and growth of local communities and Nestle suppliers are involved in the project

Next Steps