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The 2nd meeting of the Working Group on Water and Crops (WG-CROP) was held on 07 December 2009 at New Delhi. Dr. K. Yella Reddy (India), Ms. Jaleh Vaziri (Iran) and Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad (Pakistan) became new members for WG-CROP whereas Mr. L.C. Tollefson (Canada) became the new Vice-Chairman.

The WG has keen interest in “Precision agriculture” in order to increase water and nutrient efficiency. The Chairman informed the members about the work carried out on the subject in one of the EU funded project Safe and High Quality Food Production using Low Quality Waters and Improved Irrigation Systems and Management (SAFIR) and invited WG members to download the model developed and related documents from the project website http://www.safir4eu.org/SAFIR.asp. SAFIR actively helps develop irrigation management and water-saving technology for the production of high-quality and safe vegetable crops by using low-quality water resources. This is an important contribution to the protection of our environment and to the safety and quality of the vegetables we eat.

Advantages of using Partial Root Drying (PRD) method to optimize/ minimize use of water and fertilizers were highlighted. The WG has showed deep interest in this area and a couple of presentations will be made during the next meeting in 2010. The WG website will be updated with new input on SALTMED model and related documents. The members have been attempting to get familiar with SALTMED model and provide model data requirements

The Chairman reported on the achievements of past 10 years of the WG and highlighted the most important outputs. The WG has contributed to the FAO irrigation and Drainage paper 56 which is now used worldwide in estimating the crop water requirement and deciding on the irrigation scheduling. Dr. Srinivas Rao from ICRISAT, India made a presentation during the meeting regarding their experiences with energy crops in India.

The new areas of interest for the WG are- (i) developing techniques for rainfall harvesting, (ii) multi-functionality of water use in paddy cultivation, and (iii) adaptation of agriculture to climate. The WG will organize a workshop titled “Water Savings in Conservation Agriculture” during 61st IEC and 6th ARC in October 2010 at Yogyakarta, Indonesia.