Call for Green Technology Providers: 18 Opportunities in Climate Smart Agriculture
March 19, 2020
Explore our new green technology needs in the field of agriculture and contact the technology seekers through the WIPO GREEN database.
The WIPO GREEN Acceleration Project 2019-2020 in Latin America identified over 100 technologies and needs in the field of climate smart agriculture. Here we highlight 18 collaboration opportunities for green technology providers, on the topics of energy, water, farming and forestry, and plant breeding.
What is climate smart agriculture?
Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) conceptually links the areas of climate change and food security. CSA is an approach to agricultural development that aims to:
- increase agricultural productivity;
- improve resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change and;
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Video: Maria Luz Marin, wine producer, explains her views on sustainability and the green technology needs at her winery, Viña Casa Marin.
Shortlist of green technology needs in climate smart agriculture
Solar energy for new irrigation system – Due to water shortage in the interior dry land of the Itata Valley, vineyards have suffered a decrease in the production of grapes for winemaking. To combat this shortage, there is a need for a high-efficiency irrigation system that provides necessary amounts of water required for optimum crop development. Since the plantations are in hillock areas, the irrigation water must be pumped to the highest parts in order to be distributed throughout the field, requiring large amounts of electrical energy. Therefore, the seeker is looking for a sustainable and economical energy source to implement the new irrigation system.
- Improved water use efficiency in tartaric stabilization of wines – Tartaric stabilization by electrodialysis – a necessary process in the wine industry to avoid formation of tartrate crystals or wine diamonds – is currently associated with high water consumption by the machinery as well as with the creation of wastewater that cannot be recycled. To address this, the seeker is looking for a technology that allows for the separation of suspended solids, elimination of dissolved materials and disinfection of the wastewater from unwanted elements, in order to enable the subsequent use of this water.
- Water level monitoring systems to improve the quality of vines affected by climate change – In winemaking, water shortage leads to a deterioration of the quality of grapes and wines. In order to be able to maintain the quality of production and adapt its business to climate change, the seeker is looking for a water level monitoring system to determine the water deficit threshold.
- Irrigation water management and desalination – After years of droughts, water supplies for irrigation in Chile have diminished. In coastal areas, the decreasing rains have led to the intrusion of saltwater into wells, leading to descending levels of freshwater and deteriorating the quality of the water for irrigation. The 2019 season saw a 38% drop in production due to drought. The seeker is looking for potential solutions to the irrigation water quality and quantity challenges, for example, through desalination technology.
- Automated barrel cleaning in wine cellars to increase water use efficiency – Wine barrel washing is a very important, but also a highly water-consuming process in winemaking. Currently, the water used for barrel washing cannot be recycled and becomes wastewater. For this reason, the seeker is looking for a solution related to water treatment to enable its reuse for other processes such as irrigation.
- Soil evaporation management in vines – Low rainfall has generated a considerable shortage of water, leaving the vineyards in poor condition. In an attempt to solve this problem, the seeker is looking for techniques to avoid direct evaporation of the soil thus reducing water loss from the soil, and allowing most of the water to be consumed by the transpiration of the vines.
- Irrigation technology to reduce water loss – Many areas in Argentina are affected by water loss, requiring mitigation with specific technologies. Agricultural entities have promoted zero-till practices, which has had a positive impact on reducing water loss. However, overall water consumption has increased and water scarcity is becoming critical, particularly under conditions of climate change. The seeker is looking to improve water usage efficiency and adapt its business to climate change through the employment of new technologies and automated systems for irrigation, avoiding water waste and water erosion. This includes establishing systematization of soils, crop rotation, and using innovative methods such as precision agriculture, new irrigation systems, soil moisture sensors, and drones for the monitoring of irrigation frequencies.
- Prevent sun stroke vineyards resulting from climate change – Climate change is determining new climatic conditions in and around vineyards. Adaptation to these conditions will require evaluation of agronomic management and its impact on obtaining good yields and the quality of the grapes produced. The exposure of grapes to the sun with respect to new climatic conditions in wine-growing areas and possible sunstroke problems are a specific issue the seeker would like to address.
- Reducing thermal, water and saline stress for vines and improving their adaptation to climate change – Extreme weather conditions (frost, strong winds and hail) caused by climate change and water shortage affect vine plantations' physiological abilities and their productive aptitude. Temperature increases, for instance, directly affect a plant’s or vine’s photosynthetic rate. The seeker is looking for technologies to adapt the new crop to current climatic conditions and to prevent thermal, water and saline stress.
- A device for agricultural land leveling – Rigorous use of agricultural land causes numerous problems, including erosion which has environmental negative impacts and can lead to high economic losses to the farmer. One of the most effective practices to address erosion is contour cultivation - a practice of planting across a slope following its elevation contour lines. To apply this practice, the seeker is looking to address the challenge of determining consistent terrain level. Existing solutions use equipment such as optical levelling and GPS technological resources, which are either laborious or expensive, making it difficult for most farmers to access. Thus the seeker is looking for a simple and cost-effective device that would generate information on terrain level instantly.
- Plant material uncertainty in the face of climate change – One of the effects of climate change is increased temperature variation, which has impacted the fruit industry. Fewer cold days in winter lead to delays in sprouting, provoking an early fall of the fruit because the plant is unable to produce enough nutrients. To cope with this challenge, a fruit producer is seeking new genetic material that would allow the fruit plants to adapt to new temperature ranges, with particular focus on resistance to drought, salinity and high temperatures.
- Cotton varieties with improved agronomical, sanitary and technological characteristics – A company is looking for cotton varieties with improved characteristics such as: improved agronomical, sanitary and technological features, low water usage, higher cultivation density and minimum soil degradation.
- New varieties of a native tree species to promote conservation – Araucaria augustifolia (Parana Pine) is listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Native to several countries in South America it is endangered due to logging and destruction of its habitat for agricultural purposes. Changes in climate are also becoming a factor. New varieties of the tree are needed to adapt to environmental and habitat changes and thereby promote its conservation.
- Yield estimation for green pruning management – Green pruning is the act of removing vegetative material between spring and summer to improve aeration and remove excessive load in order to achieve better fruit quality. The current challenge of this process is that it requires yield data monitoring for the farmer to know when pruning must occur. The seeker is looking for a technical solution to manage such monitoring for remote and large territories; a remote sensor that is linked to computer based image interpretation could potentially provide updated information on how much fruit hangs from the trees and could be used to estimate yield.
- Exotic herb invasion control – A 10,000-hectare farm seeks ways to control the invasion of an exotic herb Hieracium pilosella L. (Mouse-ear hawkweed, Asteraceae). Its explosive expansion is provoked by soil degradation due to overgrazing. Thus, the seeker is looking for a proper animal management system to prevent soil degradation with integrated weed control to be effective in large territories, to avoid the spread of the herb. Satellite monitoring could be a potentially be part of the solution to this issue.
- Fire monitoring in wetland and grassland areas – A large farms plantations are used for forestry and livestock and are located in a mosaic of wetland sectors. The farm faces illegal activity from wildlife hunters, who use fire to enter the grassland located on the banks of the wetland. Therefore, the seeker is looking for an extensive fire monitoring system to prevent illegal practices of hunters and exercise control over the plantations to prevent potential damage caused by fire.
- Determination of gluten content in cereal production through satellite images of crop fields – A company is looking for a fast and reliable method to estimate gluten content in wheat on a field or farm scale. Current methods for gluten content estimation only rely on laboratory analysis using special equipment.
- Low-cost monitoring for large areas of forest – A large farm combines livestock production and forestry on what is known as a silvopastoral system (SSP). The productive model incorporates afforestation in the livestock fields, aiming to complement and diversify production. It is challenging to monitor extensive areas of the 60.000-hectare farm with regard to the growth and vigor of the pine trees. Therefore, the seeker is looking for a low-cost monitoring system, possibly through satellite images.
About WIPO GREEN
WIPO GREEN is a global marketplace for sustainable technology, supporting global efforts to address climate change. Through its online database and regional activities, WIPO GREEN connects green tech seekers and providers in order to catalyze green innovation and accelerate green tech transfer and diffusion.