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 Salt Doctors - saline agriculture, training and research in the field
The Salt Doctors - Saline Agriculture, training and research in the field
The Salt Doctors - Salt tolerant crops in the field
The Salt Doctors - Salt tolerant varieties in the field

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 - Salt tolerant potato
The Salt Doctors - Salt tolerant crops in the field
The Salt Doctors - Training and research in the field, Saline Agriculture

About us

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: 

FAO-WASAG workgroup on saline agriculture

EU Focus Group on Soil Salinization

Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA)).


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

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

for irrigation.


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

The Salt Doctors - Saline Agriculture, training and research

Our services

We can help (on location or online) with:

-Salinity assessments

-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)

-Capacity building

-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. 

Afbeelding van Arjen de Vos (4)

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.

Contact us

Thanks for your request!


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