Improving the use of freshwater resources on farms

Edition 10Quality

These producers profit from a more sustainable approach to water management and play their part in protecting water sources. This is an important approach that more and more producers will follow in future.

What water means to GLOBALG.A.P.

Public awareness of the need to conserve water is growing. Accordingly, water risks in primary agriculture are receiving increasing attention from consumers, media, and civil society. As pressure on this limited resource grows, many farmers are choosing to implement GLOBALG.A.P.’s SPRING.

[rt_dropcap_style dropcap_letter=”S” dropcap_content=”EVENTY percent of the world’s freshwater resources are used for agriculture. As the strain on this limited resource intensifies and ecological problems arise – particularly in arid regions – agricultural supply chains are now under more pressure than ever to mitigate the problem. Accordingly, food system stakeholders are now frequently expected to provide evidence documenting their efforts to manage water risks, disengage from illegal water extraction and promote sustainable on-farm practices.”]

To help tackle this issue, Coop – a Swiss retail company and pioneer in sustainability – joined forces with GLOBALG.A.P. to develop an add-on for sustainable water management at the farm level: Sustainable Program for Irrigation and Groundwater Use (SPRING).

In 2018, Coop began to purchase products from the first SPRING-assessed producers and in 2019, GLOBAL.A.P. officially launched SPRING as an add-on.

SPRING is an on-farm assessment and can be carried out together with the GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance standard for Crops and with the Crops for Processing standard.

The assessment incorporates a wide range of criteria which address sustainable water management practices on the farm and can help producers, retailers, and traders demonstrate their commitment to sustainable water management.

The SPRING assessment includes parameters such as:, legal conformity of water sources and extraction rates, monitoring of water consumption, impact of producers on sustainable watershed management and best practices in water management Producers who successfully implement the SPRING add-on receive a certificate of conformity, which is also visible in the GLOBALG.A.P. database.

Authorised supply chain stakeholders can also access the full audit report as a “SPRING observer” via the GLOBALG.A.P. database.

In South Africa there are currently about 2,500 producers under GLOBALG.A.P. certification. The main products under GLOBALG.A.P. certification in South Africa are lemons, oranges, mandarins, pears, and apples.

More than 300 producers have already recognised the need to improve their use of freshwater resources on their farms and have completed a SPRING assessment.

What water means to SPRING- assessed producers

GLOBALG.A.P. interviewed a SPRING-assessed producer from Jujuy Province, Argentina, who produces grapefruits, lemons and oranges.

What does water mean to you?

“On our farm, water is more than a resource to irrigate our products. It means life, growth, and responsibility of use.”

How is it important to your farm and your daily life?

“It is a natural and essential resource, and we are committed to protecting it on a sustainable basis, the best way we can.”

How has the SPRING add-on helped you with sustainable water management on the farm?

“It has been very helpful so far. At Quinta Yuchán, we think GLOBALG.A.P.’s SPRING add-on is an excellent way for a farmer to promote innovation and continuous improvement in sustainable water management. It is a real commitment to the use of a scarce resource.”

María del Milagro Solá Torino, Head of Research and Quality Management Dept. Fruit and Juice Management Quinta Yuchán, GGN 7791762000003.

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