Improving water use efficiency for leading sugar cane company

Tongaat Hulett, Southern Africa's

March 21, 2018


he South African sugar industry is one of the world’s leading cost competitive producers of high quality sugar and makes an important contribution to employment, particularly in rural areas, to sustainable development and to the national economy.

Within Southern Africa Tongaat Hulett is one of the most forward thinking agricultural and agri-processing businesses in this field. The company employs 38.200 people and has a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange dating back to 1952, and a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange since 1939.

Last week VanderSat started IWACA-TECH, a two year project to demonstrate the impact of satellite data for irrigation practices and crop yield improvement. The project focuses on a big sugar cane plantation of Tongaat Hulett in Xinavane, Mozambique. Together with several academic partners TU DelftIHE Delft institute for Water Education, and Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, the tech company Mobile Water Management, the Mozambique water authority ARA Sul we joint forces to improve the water use efficiency of 18 000 ha agricultural land through a combination of novel cost-effective information technologies.

Currently the irrigation decisions are based on models and personal experience. The goal of the project is to use actual satellite and in situ observations to make these decisions more accurate which will lead to cost savings and improved yield while still making use of the current irrigation infrastructure.

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