The main objectives are as follows:
* To develop suitable systems for horticultural production on marginal land in the context of the problems of water availability and quality, fluctuating temperatures and soil characteristics; to select appropriate plant varieties adapted to the prevailing conditions and through studies on post-harvest physiology to develop methods to enhance fruit stability and quality and hence transportability and exportability.
* Development of appropriate greenhouse / plastic shelter climate control, to include testing and evaluation of low cost systems, modelling and simulation of internal microclimate and its management.
* Assessment of water requirements of the crops to include measurement and modelling of crop transpiration and irrigation scheduling; investigations on crop physiology under the known adverse conditions to include work on gaseous exchanges and crop yield prediction.
* Development of soil and soilless culture techniques to include sand-based culture.
* Selection of appropriate plant varieties to include work on plant growth and development and on fruit quality in response to the established environmental factors and transportability.
* Development and testing of appropriate ways and means to involve local farmers and local SMEs in the development of intensive horticultural production.
The expected results should be a definition of the conditions and procedures best suited to sustainable horticultural production in the two areas, comprehending specifications of suitable substrates, protective coverings, irrigation scheduling, the selection of suitable plant varieties and modifications to improve post-harvest stability, transport and marketing.
It is also expected that a dialogue between local horticultural industry and scientists will have been established and mechanisms put in place to ensure its continuance.
The key activities envisaged are:
* Testing and evaluation of low cost systems for the improvement of internal microclimate; modelling of energy and mass balance enabling simulations of internal microclimate and evaluations of performance of greenhouse equipment.
* Preparation of a blueprint for crop management.
* Studies on the water requirements of the crops, development of irrigation scheduling.
* Studies on the effect of the environment on crop physiology in relation to fruit quality and post-harvest stability.
* Studies on substrate suitability.
* Selection of appropriate cultivars.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
TN25 5AH Wye