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European Union Awards FIGARO Consortium EUR6 Million for New Precision Technologies to Improve Irrigation Management

October 15, 2012

TEL AVIV, Israel, October 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –

The European Union (EU) has awarded FIGARO (Flexible and Precise Irrigation Platform
to Improve Farm Scale Water Productivity), an international Consortium led by Netafim Ltd
[http://www.netafim.com ] , EUR6 million to develop new precision technologies to improve
irrigation management to increase water productivity in major water-demanding crops.

FIGARO researchers will focus their efforts on significantly reducing the use of fresh
water at the farm level through developing a cost-effective, precision irrigation
management platform. The European-wide consortium aims to develop a holistic and
structured precision irrigation software platform which will offer farmers flexible,
crop-tailored irrigation scheduling protocols.

“The software application of precision irrigation has a large potential to lead to
savings of water energy and other inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides,” said project
coordinator Lior Doron, director of Crop Management Technology department at Netafim Ltd.,
a world leader in drip and micro-irrigation.

“By applying the platform that FIGARO plans to develop, the savings will be beneficial
for farmers and other stakeholders. Investment decisions by farmers will benefit from a
Cost Benefit Analysis. Regional managers will consider environmental impacts, both at the
location of implementation and in the (downstream) area of influence where saved water
might become available,” he added.

“The developed integrated and automated precision, irrigation management and
decision-supporting tools, models and devices will allow for a substantial reduction in
fresh water use in irrigated agriculture,” according to Prof. Pasquale Steduto of the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [http://www.fao.org/index_en.htm ]
(FAO), responsible for the bridge to end users and other stakeholders for the FIGARO
Consortium.

“The project will also contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources and
adaptation of agriculture to climate change. A more rational use of water tailored to
specific and real time crop needs will also contribute to better quality yields,” he said.

Increased water demand caused by global population growth, coupled with global warming
exacerbating current drought conditions in Europe, have resulted in dwindling fresh water
resources. The misuse of the available fresh water resources across Europe threatens
sustainable agricultural development and overall economic growth.

Governments are giving top priority to this issue, exploring special measures to
sustain existing resources and ensure dependable supplies for the next generations.
Maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of fresh water use in crop irrigation supports
environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

“In order to develop a transferable system, it must be financially attractive to
stakeholders in the short-medium term,” added Doron. “It must be practical and easy to
implement by the direct end users, including farmers and agronomy consultants.”

About Netafim

Netafim is the global leader in drip and micro-irrigation solutions for sustainable
productivity. With 27 subsidiaries, 13 manufacturing plants and more than 3,000 employees
worldwide, Netafim delivers innovative and state-of-the-art solutions in more than 110
countries across the globe. Founded in 1965, Netafim pioneered the drip irrigation
revolution, creating a paradigm shift toward low-flow agricultural irrigation.

Today, Netafim offers a wide range of irrigation and complementary solutions for
agriculture, landscaping and mining. From drippers and dripperlines, through sprinklers
and micro-emitters, to crop management technology (CMT) systems and greenhouse solutions.
For more information, visit http://www.netafim.com.

About FIGARO

FIGARO is a Europe-wide research project that is co-funded by the European Commission
under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the
European Union.

FIGARO focuses on significantly reducing the use of fresh water at the farm level
through developing a cost-effective, precision irrigation management platform. The
Europe-wide consortium aims to develop a holistic and structured precision irrigation
platform which will offer farmers flexible, crop-oriented management tools with a DSS
(Decision Supporting System) module to optimize irrigation and fertilizer dosing.

The FIGARO consortium is industry driven as it is coordinated by Netafim and includes
an additional six SME’s, most bringing expertise in precise irrigation-related
technologies. The consortium is augmented by eight academic institutions, a regional
authority and the FAO.

        Contacts:
        Lior Doron
        lior.doron@netafim.com;
        +972-52-5017458

        Simon van Dam
        svandam@agora-partners.com;
        +972-54-4563384

SOURCE FIGARO (Flexible and Precise Irrigation Platform to Improve Farm Scale Water Productivity)


Source: PR Newswire