Ag Innovation: Growing More with Less

Ag Innovation: Growing More with Less

by John Howell

Multimedia from this Release

Monday, July 14, 2014 - 4:00pm



Ica is a large desert region on the coast of Peru. Called by Peruvians the “Land of the Sun,” its many days of sunshine allow crops to be grown year round, among them cotton, grapes, asparagus, olives, and other produce.

Partly due to its agricultural productivity, about 25 percent of all Peruvians live and work in the area. There’s just one big problem: there’s hardly any rainfall, about three millimeters a year. Water for agricultural (and living) use relies on an underground aquifer fed by glacial melt water, and the amount of water used for irrigation is outracing the replenishment of that source—the aquifer is drying up. The situation is so serious that there’s a ban on the drilling of new wells.

Ica is also home to a Monsanto vegetable manufacturing site, the Ica Home Farm. That facility produces more than half of the total of melon seeds grown globally, and is one of the company’s largest tomato seed production sites. As the Ica Monsanto team became aware of the increasingly serious water supply challenges in Ica, they began to focus on new ways to use the limited water more efficiently.

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John Howell is a co-founder and the Editorial Director for 3BL Media. He oversees all original content procurement and creation. He is also the principal of Greenland Inc., which advises on media strategy and communications, new media, and branding and marketing for new campaigns, products, and multi-platform media initiatives. As a publisher-editor-writer, John has worked extensively with a variety of popular magazines and is a frequent contributing writer and blogger. He is an avid reader and music lover and is currently helping to guide the Delta Blues Museum through a re-branding initiative. John lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.