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Call for ideas to tackle irrigation water loss

The initiative aims to encourage new ideas to solve issues in sugar, as well as in global agriculture. (Image credit: Fernando Augusto/Pixabay)

AB Sugar, in partnership with WaterAid and the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge, has launched a first-of-its-kind Innovate Irrigation Challenge, seeking to generate new ideas to reduce water losses from irrigation in sugar

The Innovate Irrigation Challenge aims to bring together people from across the globe to share their ideas on how to solve the challenge of water loss in agriculture. All entries are to be submitted in a 48-hour period during 19-20 June 2019 online. A panel of judges will select a winner, who will have the opportunity to work with AB Sugar and its partners to test the viability of their idea in the field.

As water and energy are the most vital resources for all its businesses and each is increasingly under risk in a world facing climate change, the population rises and depletion of natural resources, the initiative focuses on reducing its environmental footprint by stimulating new ideas.

Katharine Teague, head of advocacy at AB Sugar, said, “We are all witnessing the ever-increasing pressure on water resources. We see this day in and day out in our businesses across the world – which is why we have already signalled our global commitment to reduce our end-to-end supply chain water and CO2 footprints by 30 per cent by 2030.”

“Our ambition with this challenge is to encourage idea generation that could help solve one of the trickiest issues not only in sugar but also in global agriculture as a whole,” Teague added.

Virginia Newton-Lewis, senior policy analyst at WaterAid, commented, “A staggering 844mn people in the world don’t have access to clean water close to home and there is the real risk that climate change could threaten scarce water resources, so it’s vital that we explore ways to boost the amount of water available for people who need it most.”

Professor Steve Evans, director of the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing, noted, “Reducing water loss from irrigation in agriculture is no mean feat and the existing tools that farmers have at their disposal are unlikely to be sufficient. We need new ideas from bright and passionate people to help us solve this problem.”