Drip irrigation as an alternative to flood irrigation is to improve crop yields, reduce fertiliser usage, and reduce water consumption by 50%.
Global beverage and convenient foods company PepsiCo and N-Drip have announced a partnership to help farmers around the world adopt drip irrigation technology across 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) by 2025.
Globally, many farmers currently make use of of flood, or trench, irrigation to bring water to their crops, which floods the field at regular intervals. By doing so, they lose 70 percent of the water used, according to PepsiCo and N-Drip. The companies state this technique is deployed on 85 percent of all irrigated fields worldwide, roughly 600 million acres, even in water-scarce locations. However, alternatives to flood irrigation are too expensive for many farmers to use and prohibit these farmers from selling their low-margin crops at a profit, according to PepsiCo and N-Drip.
A replacement for flood or trench irrigation, Israeli-headquartered N-Drip’s irrigation system is powered by gravity and harnesses the water-saving benefits of high-pressure drip irrigation, but with low energy, operating and maintenance demands – making it more accessible to all types of farmers and nearly all types of crops. Its technology makes use of existing field infrastructure without the need for pumps or filters, as used in existing precision irrigation technologies.
N-Drip claims farmers using their irrigation routinely achieve significant water savings, see larger crop yields, and reduce the need for expensive fertilisers. In addition, by converting from flood irrigation to N-Drip’s irrigation system, carbon (CO2) emissions could be reduced by as much as 83 percent and methane emissions by as much as 78 percent.
“To date, we‘ve implemented N-Drip’s technology with farmers in India, Vietnam, and the U.S., and saw improved crop yields, reduced fertiliser usage, and 50% less water consumed compared to flood irrigation,” said Rob Meyers, VP, Sustainable Agriculture, PepsiCo.
Eran Pollak, Chief Executive Officer, N-Drip, said: “As PepsiCo sources crops from farms of all types and sizes, N-Drip’s proprietary technology allows our partnership to make precise irrigation accessible to all types of farmers, from those with massive farms to those with one-acre plots.”