( Chiquita )

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Chiquita Brands International is using water recycling programs to reduce its water use 1.7 billion liters per year.

In a nod to World Water Day on March 22, the company noted said it has committed to only use irrigation where it is strictly necessary and has eliminated use of wasteful overhead irrigation, according to a news release.

Additionally, as an element of its farm rejuvenation program, Chiquita said it is investing in mini and micro irrigation. That technology currently covers 6.5% of its irrigated land, and uses live ground cover and mulches that reduce evaporation to ensure that the greatest efficiency possible for water abstraction, according to the release.

Chiquita also utilizes ‘greenwater’ at its Costa Rica and Panama farms, the company said, which consists of rainfall, rather than treated ‘blue’ water.

Chiquita is also working to reduce the 2% of water used during processing by installing recycling systems and introducing handling techniques that allow bananas to be separated from the main stalk without using water.

According to the company, water recycling systems have been installed in 26% of Chiquita’s packing stations. Those systems have allowed the company to reduce its water use by over 1.7 billion liters per year. That equals about 80% more water savings compared to stations without the system, according to the release.

Aside from maintaining the condition of its banana farms, the release said Chiquita has partnered with the San San Project to improve living conditions and environmental awareness of local farming communities.