SPONGE- IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute Ltd

Obstacle Sandy/stony soil with poor water capturing capacity, intermittent access to water, and both labor- and cost-intensive processes hamper food production

Innovation SPONGE: Sustainable Potato Farming in the Eastern Himalayan Range

Organization Type Research Organization

Country(ies) Bhutan, Bangladesh, Belize, India, and Nepal.

Contact Sanjay Prasad Email IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute Website

Challenge

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute Ltd seeks to improve water utilization and supply in a region with abundant but highly intermittent water availability. SPONGE is being put to use in the countries of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Belize, India, and Nepal.

Solution

SPONGE is an innovative irrigation technology. Using water from fog and dew, SPONGE increases reliability in a region with abundant but highly intermittent water availability, improving soil moisture content – while reducing technical maintenance and operation of machinery. It can be applied on existing fields as well as on marginal, rocky or sandy soils unsuited for conventional farming – and even where reliable springs or wells are lacking.

Soil moisture content is increased and kept at optimal levels through a cascading system of buried SPONGEs (foam/cotton units), supplied through fog and dew harvested water. Water is applied in gauged volumes and recycled, minimizing water loss.

To ensure sustainability, SPONGE applies a specific selection of plants to control bacteria/fungus in combination with bio-fertilizers, thus forming a techno-biological system. SPONGE is designed to involve women and strengthen marginalized groups.

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