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From farm to fork, biodiversity and water

About the blog

Ignasi Servià Goixart
@iservia is Ignasi Servià, agronomist who has participated in important Irrigation / Rural Development projects. My experience in GIS has allowed me to help an Agricultural Services company in Precision Agriculture issues during the last 2 years
  • From farm to fork, biodiversity and water

This is my 200th post, which coincides with the presentation of Iagua Magazine 29. I would like to start this post by sharing 2 news from the previous week that make me especially excited.

  • On Thursday David Escobar called me to propose to extend my collaboration with iagua on agricultural issues, and thus continue helping the irrigation to expand its presence in the leader platform of the water sector. Obviously I said yes, because it is a win-win that helps the irrigation sector. Presentation of iagua Magazine 29 is the best proof that there are more and more agricultural companies in iagua. The interview with Lucas Jiménez (president of SCRATS) of the iagua magazine 23 is repeated, the presence of AgriSat, Molecor, Azud is maintained, and two companies with an important relationship with irrigation are released, HidroConta and EPG Salinas. It seems that this year there is a turn of some companies towards digital channels.
  • I made a tweet where I shared that I had received 2 awards. Share with you that I will collaborate with Mobile World Capital in the writing of a publication entitled "5G and the digital transformation of irrigated agriculture".

From farm to fork

Last Thursday I attended the presentation “the new Farm to fork and CAP strategy in the context of the coronavirus crisis”, by Ricard Ramon @RamonSumoy, deputy head of unit of the DG Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission.

People who follow me on twitter could see some tweets, but the topic is important, and I think it deserves a post in iagua and Smart Water Magazine. The images in this part correspond to the presentation by Ricard Ramon.

Fig. 1 Tweet of the attendance to the presentation "The new strategy From the Fram to fork" 

Ricard began his presentation by explaining that the EC wants to stimulate green growth. The debate on sustainability should be understood as a global issue, for example, we do not make much progress if only greenhouse gases are controlled in certain countries. Europe is the area where the most efforts have been made to reduce these gases.

National strategic plans must be carried out in the direction of sustainability, with 2 points to highlight:

  • In eco-schemes, a minimum % of direct payments must be allocated to environmental payments.
  • The EC wants to have a greater relationship with each of the member states, before these plans are published.

A change in the eating habits of European citizens has been observed, thus it has been possible to verify a reduction in the consumption of red meat, and according to a survey by an entity outside the EC, 2/3 of the interviewees would be willing to modify their diet, to help sustainability.

2 years ago the 9 objectives of the CAP were presented. By presenting From farm to fork strategy, these political aspirations are quantified (impact studies have yet to be carried out).

From farm to fork strategy seeks a healthier and more sustainable EU food system, the cornerstone of the European Green Deal.

  • Guarantee healthy, affordable and sustainable food for Europeans.
  • Combat climate change.
  • Protect the environment and preserve biodiversity.
  • Fair performance in the agri-food chain.
  • Strengthen organic farming.

The 5 main objectives are:

  1. Reduce the climatic and environmental footprint of the food system.
  2. Guarantee food security and public health.
  3. Lead the global transition to competitive sustainability.
  4. Take advantage of new opportunities.
  5. Create a robust and resilient food system.


Fig. 2 Objectives of the strategy from the field to the table.


In From farm to fork strategy, 4 objectives to be achieved by 2030 are defined quantitatively.

  • Reduce by 50% the use and risks of pesticides, and by another 50% the use and risks of more dangerous pesticides.
  • Reduce nutrient losses by 50% and reduce the use of fertilizers by 20%, preventing soil fertility from deteriorating.
  • Reduce the sale of antimicrobials used in livestock and aquaculture by 50%.
  • Allocate at least 25% of the agricultural area to organic farming. (If nothing is done, it is expected to reach 12% already).
  • The Biodiversity strategy was also presented on the same day, in which it is intended to reach 10% of the agricultural area, being elements of the high-density landscape.

These objectives are directly related to the quality of the water, preventing fertilizers, pesticides or antimicrobial products from reaching the water.

Fig 3. 5 quantified objectives.

Of the € 750,000 million to relaunch the European economy, € 16,483 million are added to the CAP for specific projects in 2022-2024, within the EAFRD's Rural Development strategic plans.

In current terms, the new CAP budget has increased by 2%.

Fig. 4 Summary of the new proposal of the European Commission on the Financing of the CAP 2021-2027.

Links related to this strategy:

Visit to Verd Camp

Last Tuesday, Ernest Mas from the Verd Camp company invited me to see his farm of 380 hectares of horticultural crops in Cambrils. They carry out more than 10 horticultural crops, concentrating the summer production on Fashion watermelon (without seeds) with more than 100 ha, and in winter with different brassicas.

This visit is perfectly complemented by the presentation of the "From Farm to Fork" Strategy. For this reason, I share some of the topics that Ernest taught me on this visit.

Fig.5 Visit to Verd Camp with Ernest Mas.

One of the main pests that watermelon crop has is the aphid. If you carry out a chemical treatment, the cost is € 80 / ha, and up to 5-6 treatments can be performed. They estimate that each treatment can have an efficiency of 80% with the pest (and therefore must be re-treated), but it can affect 100% of the auxiliary fauna that helps control the pest.

These chemical treatments have been replaced by a floral intercropping, mixing lobularia plants between the cultivation of watermelon, at a cost of € 20 / ha. They are also analyzing 27 other species, to favor auxiliary fauna.

Deepening which are the species that are most adapted, the densities, etc ... requires significant field work. Horticultural crops require a significant investment, which can be around € 8,000 - € 10,000 / ha, so you should be well above these crops.

This company has been certified in the water footprint and carbon footprint since 2017, and works to reduce the use of plant protection products. Comment that this Baix Camp farm is supplied by wells, which collect water at a depth of 100 m.

One of the company's goals is to be 100% ECO by 2025.

In the following image you can see the intercropping, but also the presence of some hives to increase the presence of bees, to guarantee good pollination.

Fig. 6 Fashion watermelon crop, with floral intercroping and presence of hives.

The farm has participated in the “Healthy Crops, Bee Happy” project to improve the presence of bees, as well as other wild pollinators. In the following figure you can see a hotel of wild pollinators, with holes between 2 and 10 mm, for different species.

Fig. 7. Project “Healthy Crops, Bee Happy”

Fig. 8 Hotel of wild pollinators.

Ricard, in his presentation, commented that the biodiversity strategy intends that more than 10% of the agricultural area be elements of the high-density landscape. In this farm, a targeted management of the margins is being carried out, using different species of aromatic plants

Fig. 9. Targeted management of parcel margins.

With Verd Camp we met on twitter a few weeks ago, and both Ernest and I are clear that communication from the primary sector is necessary to obtain added value for differentiated production.

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