Improving crop yield under saline conditions
Increasing salinity: problem or opportunity?
The salinity levels of soil and water are increasing in many areas around the world. Often, this leads to reduced crop yields and sometimes farmers stop cultivating crops completely.
But what if salt affected land can become highly productive? What if we can use saline water for irrigation?
Can these saline resources be used to improve the livelihood of farmers and can it be applied on a large scale so it can contribute to global food security?
The Global Challenge
It is generally assumed that food production has to increase by at least 70% by 2050 to feed the growing world population.
This seems far away, but that’s only 30 years from now!
New arable land and fresh water is scares and increasing the yield per hectare in many commercial farms will not be enough
to reach this 70% production increase.
One of the ignored resources in the world are the salt affected areas.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), globally around 400 million hectares can be classified as saline. Also, there is a similar amount of saline water readily available as there is fresh water in the world.
If these saline water and salt affected soils can be used for crop production than the impact can be enormous!
Saline agriculture has the potential
to feed the growing world population
The Salt Doctors is a social enterprise from the Netherlands that specializes in improving crop yield under saline conditions and putting the solutions into the hands of farmers.
We do this by research and consultancy and providing practical training in the field.
In short, The Salt Doctors work as a service provider to make crop cultivation
under saline conditions not only possible but also profitable.
The Salt Doctors combine practical work in the field with scientific research and are actively involved in different expert groups:
All activities focus on developing and implementing scalable solutions in order to provide practical solutions for farmers and work towards large-scale impact.
Saline agriculture is a form of agriculture that makes use of salt tolerant crop varieties
and improved farming practices to increase the yield under saline conditions.
This can consist of using salt affected land and, under specific conditions, using saline water
Saline agriculture starts with the identification and implementation of salt tolerant crops,
but for large-scale implementation many other factors have to be taken into account.
This includes the cultivation management (sustainable soil and irrigation management, soil fertility), but also the local biophysical conditions, socio-economic aspects,
the market potential of specific crops and policy support have to be taken into account, among others.
Introducing saline agriculture can create jobs, improve incomes,
reduce malnutrition, and kick-start a sustainable economy
We can help (on location or online) with:
-Providing crop cultivation strategies (including crop/soil/water)
-Teaching, training-of-trainers (in the field and online)
-Assistance during the crop season
-Setting up demo trials
-Assist with research and breeding
-Providing the right input materials (like seeds)
-Developing adaptation strategies and cost-effective solutions
The Salt Doctors often act as an implementation partner to realize climate resilient agriculture and help farmers to adapt to the ever-increasing salinity levels.
The Salt Doctors can quickly diagnose a local situation and we have the know-how to prescribe a tailor-made solution.
We have the experience and the skills to help implement the plan and maximize the results to achieve upscaling.
At present, The Salt Doctors are implementing this with different partners in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Iraq, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan.
We help to improve crop yield under saline conditions
and bring the solutions into the hands of farmers
Proven track record
The Salt Doctors worked in several countries with various project partners,
besides the elaborate work on salt tolerant crops in the Netherlands.
-In Pakistan our method delivered up to 42% higher potato yield compared to local conventional methods (2016-2017).
-In 2018 we were able to double the carrot yield under saline conditions in Kenya.
-In Bangladesh, over 5000 farmers have been trained in saline agriculture
and their income increased by 34% after 2 years into the project (2017-2020).
-We are currently running field trials in Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan
to validate the growth performance of various salt tolerant crops under the local,
saline conditions, as well as providing training and capacity building of the local partners.
We can realize a 30-40% yield increase in many salt affected areas
Who can we help?
We work with farmers, NGO's, research institutes, governments and the private sector.
We focus on the implementation in the field.
If you want to increase your crop production under saline conditions or make use of one of our other services, please contact us.
Our project partners
Publications & Reports
The Salt Doctors combine practical work in the field with scientific research
and are actively involved in different expert groups.
Please find some of our publications and reports below.
EIP-AGRI Focus Group Soil Salination
Final report (2020)
An improved methodology to evaluate crop salt tolerance from field trials
van Straten G, de Vos AC, Rozema J, Bruning B, van Bodegom PM (2019)
Agricultural Water Management 213, 375-387
Effects of increased seawater salinity irrigation on growth and quality of the edible halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L. under field conditions
Atzori G, De Vos AC, van Rijsselberghe M, Vignolini P, Rozema J, Mancuso S, van Bodegom PM (2017)
Agricultural Water Management 187, 37-46
Crop salt tolerance under controlled field conditions in The Netherlands,
based on field trials conducted by Salt Farm Texel
De Vos AC, Bruning B, van Straten G, Oosterbaan R, Rozema J, van Bodegom P (2016)
Report 39 pages