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Argentina: promoting precision agriculture

16/01/2020 - François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
The Tomate 2000 program, which operates under the umbrella of the Mendoza region's Ministry of Economy and Energy, has started to implement a Geographic Information System (GIS), with the Gisworking company, based in the same area, in order to optimize the production of processing tomatoes.
It is an application that makes it possible to reduce costs and provide better environmental protection by analyzing agronomic variables such as soil humidity, solar radiation, temperature, irrigation needs – to mention only the main ones – throughout the 3 000 hectares of tomato cultivation.
The strategic partnership between the Tomate 2000 Program and the Gisworking company, which specializes in technology, has made it possible, after the three months needed to develop the data-processing structure, to create an application whose implementation began mid-December, providing technicians and growers with detailed agronomic advice.
For the agricultural engineer Guillermo San Martín, Director of the Tomate 2000 association, "the version we are starting to use will have a trial period of around six months, during which we will adjust the variables necessary to manage the 3 000 hectares of tomatoes intended for processing. In this way, we will be able to assess and understand crop variations in order to make safe decisions in terms of input use, as is the case with fertilizers." 
"Our mission at the Tomate 2000 Association is to develop research and technology transfer in the processing tomato sector in order to help establish a sustainable agro-industry focused on technological and organizational innovation, thereby contributing to regional development," concluded San Martín. The Tomate 2000 program is the result of a joint effort on the part of technical teams from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the INTA's La Consulta Experimental Agricultural Station, the Mendoza province Ministry of the Economy and a group of private entrepreneurs within the industry. Its main driver is the express willingness of manufacturers to engage in the development of their activity, convinced that only the agrifood sector as a whole is able to reach a balance of interests between the different partners, something that is essential if they are to achieve the level of competitiveness required by the markets today.
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