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Costa Rica promotes a high technology program for the agricultural sector

Under the name Agrinnovación 4.0, it seeks to promote the improvement of agricultural productivity and sustainability, focusing on training and applied research, technology transfer and specialized advice.

5/19/2020

Costa Rican grower.

The government of the Costa Rican Republic is promoting a national high-technology program to improve productivity and sustainability in the agricultural sector, using precision tools and adding value to agriculture that will be applied in stages throughout the country.

Under the name AGRINNOVACION 4.0, the platform will allow the systematization of data for decision-making and the strengthening of rural agribusinesses. In total, it is estimated that the initiative will directly impact 5,000 families the first year, 3,000 families the second and another 3,000 families the third, for a total of 11,000 producer families.

The program is led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Rural Development Institute, with the support of INTA, the academic sector (UCR, UNA and TEC) and other cooperators, such as the Development Banking System and Fundecooperación. The investment is up to 4,267 million colones.

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Renato Alvarado, explained in parallel the platform is contextualized within the framework of the technological, productive and profitable transformation that the primary productive sector must have to be able to insert itself into value chains and successfully exit before the impacts generated by this pandemic. "We have already checked with other products, such as onion, and now what we are going to do is scale the model towards other products."

He added that it is framed in the policies of the current Administration and linked to initiatives such as the promotion of the regionalization of wholesale marketing in Chorotega and the added value in Brunca. "In addition to policies to increase productivity, opportunities for new generations of farmers, as well as a production system in line with policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonization," said the hierarch.

Minister Alvarado explained that the program has already been tested in Tierra Blanca de Cartago, where small producers use precision technology, drip irrigation systems, sensors to measure gravimetric humidity, temperature and electrical conductivity, tensiometers and suction lysimeters. humidity, volumetric sensors to quantify water consumption, dead mulches or soil mulches and efficient management of planting density.

"This entire package is focused on saving water, fertilizers, pesticides and seeds, among other inputs, and is based on data, explains Jairo González, MAG extensionist in the Central Western Region," said the head of the MAG after explaining that As a result, farmers have obtained results of up to 128% increase in productivity, 52% reduction in production costs, 84% reduction in agrochemicals and 93% reduction in water resources, in onion cultivation.

In detail, the use of this precision technology will be replicable in all regions of the country in a phased manner:
Phase 1: It will be scaled to the Chorotega Region and the Brunca Region with fruit and vegetable products.

 Phase 2: It will be scaled to the other regions of the country in fruit and vegetable products, grains and roots and tubers.

Phase 3: It is expected to expand its application with new modules and non-traditional crops in all regions.
The entities are in a position to contribute an investment of 4,267 million colones in three components:

Sustainable production and value addition. Transformation of production processes and industrialization of products as a means to generate new alternatives by incorporating technological packages and laboratory analysis linked to production modules.

Development of geotechnological tools. Development of technological models that apply precision agriculture techniques for follow-up, monitoring, data analysis, early alerts and systems for commercial linkage of production modules.

Adaptation to climate change. Transformation of the productive modules through a model based on precision agriculture that incorporates irrigation, nutrition, protection and yield systems, which in turn has an impact on increased productive capacity and resilience to climate change.

As a second component of this project, there is the Certification in Good Agricultural Practices and Traceability that aims to introduce added value, better commercialization and opportunities in external markets, as well as strengthen controls in terms of safety, quality, pests and diseases, to minimize the risks of contamination in the vegetables that are destined for the national consumer.

Finally, work is being done on Geo-Technological Development, which includes the central repository of geo-data for agricultural information that would provide data infrastructures for the mobile application for the farmer, technicians and consumers.


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