Friday, March 31, 2023

The ‘app’ that saved farmers 50,000 million liters of water (and got paid for it)

EL PAÍS offers the America Futura segment for its daily and global informational contribution on sustainable development. If you want to support our journalism, subscribe Here,

For Jarrow Trend, implementing technology in the rural world is more than just picking up a tool and leaving it at it. That’s exactly what led him, along with other collaborators, to found Kilimo, the Argentinian company of which he is CEO, using satellite images and local meteorological data to be able to tell farmers in Latin America Let’s see how much water there really is. They must be spraying it on their crops and they don’t waste it.

After doing these calculations and through a application, Kilimo customers receive a message telling them immediately how many millimeters of water to irrigate so that they are no more than a drop. “In most cases, farmers use 20% more water per month than the crop needs,” says Traand. Kilimo gives them the knowledge that is the optimum measurement.

With data from just 300 customers representing 2,000 producers, the company has managed to save 50,000 million liters of water, which according to Trend, “is equivalent to the same number of water used by one and a half million people per year.” “You can see how much has been accomplished with so little,” he says. Thus, side by side with farmers, they are expanding and rebuilding watersheds not only in Argentina, but also in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and the United States. More than 44 types of crops have been impacted through water savings, including corn, soybeans, wheat and avocados, all of which are characterized by higher water consumption.

The use of Kilimo in crops in Argentina. David Carretero (Courtesy)

“Although it depends on the place, in developing countries it is estimated that agriculture uses 80% of the water. Therefore, if we want to manage this crisis and make it climate change friendly, agriculture There is an area in which something needs to be done.”

water saving market

One of the first valleys Kilimo reached was that of Maipo in Santiago de Chile. It is a major water source for the city, but also one of the most stressed in the country. In addition to the rainfall regime, which has decreased by about 50%, it was added that the basin is usually recharged by snow from the Andes, which is rapidly shrinking due to climate change. Maipo, like many others, was seeking help.

There, in addition to farmers, Kilimo met with several companies that used Maipo’s water and that had signed commitments to be neutral in their water use. In other words, they demanded the return of the resources taken from the basin. “But they were challenged to figure out how to do that. Where do you get the water savings?” Trand says. The pieces were compatible and Kilimo was able to connect him software What companies need to save water with it.

Thus was born a water market. Or as Trand likes to call it, an “exchange model in which effort to better manage water is compensated”. As in the now very popular carbon markets, farmers sell the water they save to companies so they can put it into their environmental compensation accounts. “At the end of the year we verify how much each producer saved and based on that they are paid,” says the Argentine businessman. Typically, each producer pays Kilimo for the services he has paid for. earns 30% more than software To save water

John Dutton, Executive Committee Member Of The World Economic Forum, And Tatiana Malvasio, Co-Founder Of Kilimo.
John Dutton, executive committee member of the World Economic Forum, and Tatiana Malvasio, co-founder of Kilimo.Michael Calabro (Keystone)

Among the companies already involved in this model – which has already begun to be reproduced in different parts of Latin America – are giants such as Intel, Microsoft and Google, in addition to more than 2,000 producers, who entered under the sole project. We do. The condition is that they do it voluntarily. “We work with the principle of change, so we believe that if the farmer is not given the chance to be involved in an agency or project, it will not be successful. This is different from philanthropy,” says Trand .

Although Kilimo was only founded in 2015 and the first basin to test the water market pilot, Maipo, is only a few months old, the company was recently recognized as the winner of the Global Freshwater Challenge (Enterprise Global Freshwater Challengee), an award given by the World Economic Fund to ten entrepreneurs from around the world who are innovating on water care.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news