Currently, around 840 owners are involved in this project, which could be working in three years.
Unicaja Banco considers that financing the La Armuña Canal will be an unquestionable boost to the economic development of an important Salamanca county.
Unicaja Banco and the Irrigation Association of La Armuña have entered into an agreement to finance the work for the construction of the first phase of La Armuña Canal. This project, long demanded by the farmers of the county, receives a contribution by the Regional Government of Castilla y León (Junta de Castilla y León), and will involve a total investment of nearly 43 million euros. The works, pending tender, could start in the next months and end in three years.
The President of the Irrigation Association of La Armuña, Teodoro López, considers that this project, highly demanded by the county since the 2000s and boosted by its Board shall tie people to the region, incorporate new young people to farming, increase investments and improve cultivation alternatives.
For Teodoro López, “irrigation agriculture is a key sector in the regional economy and its future depends on the search for efficient and economic solutions to solve the problems of the sector. With the modern remote control that we want to install”, he proceeded, “we will manage irrigation with the highest efficiency”.
In addition to the transformation of this area into irrigation land, the Irrigation Association of La Armuña is considering to set a solar farm for self-consumption of part of the energy that farmers need. “We will have a modern irrigation system, pioneering in Salamanca and in Castilla y León, and that will have a very positive influence on the development of this area. We will save in nitrogenous fertilizers and water consumption will decrease by 30%. This will reduce pollution and will contribute to fight the climate change”.
Unicaja Banco’s Regional Manager, Manuel Rubio, has expressed his satisfaction for contributing to finance this infrastructure, which “will be an unquestionable boost to the economic development of an important part of the province and of a remarkable number of farmers”.
With this action, a total of 6,600 hectares of this county will become irrigation land, distributed as follows: 2,338 ha in Villaflores; 2,264 ha in Cantalpino; 1,616 ha in Campo de Peñaranda, 1,808 in Poveda de las Cintas and 150 in Zorita de la Frontera.
This project involves 840 owners, of which 220 are professional farmers. However, it is expected that some 500 owners will be linked in the next months, due to the sale of land and to the elimination of duplications, as some plots are registered on behalf of several owners.
285 km in pipelines
This section of La Armuña Canal will have a pipeline network of 285 km, and it will involve several advantages, such as reparcelling and increased irrigation mechanization, resulting in a remarkable decrease in costs.
Yield will also be improved, as most of the hectares included in this project are currently dry-farming areas. The current irrigation land will benefit from these improvements, as water extraction by drilling can have a cost of up to 1,800 per ha, and this will reduce by more than 50% when the project is completed.
The estimated savings for farms will involve a 25 to 30% reduction in the cost of water for the current irrigation lands and savings of 20% in land fertilization.
Taking into account the cost to be assumed by the owners for land equipment, the financing needs stand at 3,500 euros per hectare, with a total amount of 23 million euros.
Unicaja Banco finances investment for land equipment, offering loans with a personal guarantee for a term of up to 8 years. It also offer specific conditions on a case-by-case basis, adapting the financing needs of customers and repayment terms, under agreements such as the one entered into with Iberaval.