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Turkana county, Kenya, The Salt Doctors

October 2023

With the support of the Saline Water & Food Systems Partnership (SW&SF) of the Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP) and NWP (Netherlands Water Partnership), a three-day workshop took place in Turkana County, Kenya. The workshop resolved around challenges and opportunities of using saline resources in Turkana County, Kenia. It brought together various stakeholders from (local) government, NGOs, United Nations organisations, knowledge institutes, and the private sector.

The workshop was implemented by Seawater Solutions and The The Salt Doctors, in close collaboration with the World Food Programme, FAO, and the Turkana County Government.

Read more about the
conference and download the conference report.
 

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COST Action SUSTAIN, The Salt Doctors
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July 2023

Nice to see this article on our work in Cuba! Last year, we visited Cuba twice and we are ready to start with the implementation phase that will hopefully start soon!
Thank you Erik Plaisier and Yuhina Mangly López of the Dutch Embassy for supporting us with all the steps and grateful for the collaboration with FAO in Cuba as well as the Ministry of Agriculture!

June 2023

Visiting the field on the island of Texel again. Here, Jan Bakker is facilitating a commercial field trial on the selection of salt tolerant potatoes. Nice differences between the salinity treatments and some varieties are looking very promising! Monitoring of salinity levels is done with suction cups so frequent sampling of soil pore water can be done. Also, hashtag#groenteheldentexel are cultivating various halophyte crops for the market as well. Keep up the good work, still one of the best locations for saline agriculture in the Netherlands!

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May 2023

This week, we have been travelling around Kuwait to explore ways to improve food security and water security, two subjects that are now high on the national agenda. We have been discussing with stakeholders from government, research institutes and the private sector, about their needs and challenges, as well as the market opportunities. The various visits to farms in different parts of the country has further helped to start formulating potential solutions. Plenty of salinity challenges that we as The Salt Doctors can help with, but also many opportunities for companies that are working with smart solutions related to water management, irrigation and crop production!

Thanks to Erik Smidt and Fadi Al-Ahmad of the Dutch Embassy for organizing all this, as well as Laurens Westhoff and Simone Landhuis! Great to team up with my collegue Andrés Parra González for this trip!

June 2023

It was nice to visit the demonstration day at Rijk Zwaan to see their crops and (new) varieties. Together with Heleen Bos we have discussed which crops and varieties we can select for our hashtag#HortiSenegal project, which is supported by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Soon, we will finalize the crop list together with our Senegalese partners, so we can start in the field later this year!

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17-02-2023

Nice to be back in Bangladesh and see the progress of the field trials and the project itself. For the "Climate Smart Agriculture for a Resilient Coastal Bangladesh", #RECSA, we have been working together with Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU), Wageningen University & Research, Acacia Water and Saline R&D, Rampal, Bagerhat, LTSL of Lal Teer Seed Limited. These activities resulted in new research into saline agriculture, cooperation between the knowledge institutes, the private sector and farmers as well as the set up of a new climate smart agriculture curriculum at PSTU!
This project is supported by Nuffic Global Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

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06-02-2023

For our SALAD - Saline AgricuLture project we visited our Egyptian project partner Kafrelsheikh University to assess various fields that can be used for demonstration and training. Close to the Mediterranean Sea in the #Nile delta, farmers face various challenges with salinity, but they have developed resilient farming systems already. Sharing experiences and setting up new demo's are an important part of the project activities, that also includes partners from Morocco, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy. The SALAD project focuses on promoting innovative technology deployment and improving climate resilience through saline agricultural practices.
Thank you Prof. Farouk Elaidy for organizing this visit!

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07-02-2023

Dr. Bas Bruning of The Salt Doctors will provide a keynote speech at the FAO #WASAG forum in Cabo Verde. We have been working with an international consortium to provide updated guidelines for farmers on how to deal with salinity. These guidelines will be published soon! For those who want to join the forum, please see the details below.

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31-01-2023

The Dutch seed potato company HZPC is harvesting their #salinity trial in #Egypt. In total, 51 potato varieties are tested at three salinity levels. New breeding lines from existing salt tolerant varieties show good potential to provide farmers with even better varieties soon! This is of great importance to the millions of farmers who have to deal with salinity, but it also offers new opportunities for breeding companies, among others. Nice to see different stakeholders from the public and the private sector visiting the field day. The Salt Doctors are assisting HZPC with the salinity trial, which is part of the #DeSalt project, which is supported by Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO). Next steps include validation at farm level and showcasing the market opportunities!

21-01-2023

Early December The Salt Doctors were in the Mekong Delta of #Vietnam for the practical training on #salineagriculture. This project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and implemented by a wide consortium from the Netherlands and Vietnam, with NWP (Netherlands Water Partnership) in the lead. We as The Salt Doctors focussed on introducing more robust crop varieties, soil management and low-tech / low-cost open field hydroponics. The training will help farmers to adapt to increasing water scarcity and salinity, in order to increase their resilience to a changing climate and improve their yield and profit at the same time!

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17-11-2022

Working on the practical training in #Mozambique the last few days. In many coastal areas and river systems you can find #salinity in the farmers' fields here. We're helping with the salinity assessments, understanding where the salinity is coming from, develop smart agricultural practices to stop and reduce salinization, introduce robust crop varieties, assist with the set up of the demo's at the farmer field schools and help with the capacity building of the local extension services. It's been an amazing week and we will look for new ways to continue the cooperation.

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12-11-2022

As part of the project "Impact of salinity in horticultural systems of Mozambique (SaliHort) we are visiting several irrigated areas in the country. Although the #salinity of the water is often monitored, the actual salinity level in the soil is not well known. With our toolkit we are performing a rapid salinity assessment and assisting with setting up a monitoring plan.
The rest of the week we will focus on practical training in the field, looking forward to that! In this way we can further contribute to our mission: increasing crop yield under saline conditions AND put the solutions into the hands of farmers!

07-11-2022

Great to be in South Africa! It took a while, but we are finally able to perform the training for Vhembe TVET College, together with Acacia Water. This project is part of the #orangeknowledge program of Nuffic Global Development, with Maastricht School of Management in the lead. Although we are in the wettest part of South Africa, still we find #salinity here. Salinity assessment and climate smart solutions are part of the training sessions, as well as setting up a demonstration in the field as well. We will showcase robust crop varieties and implement agro-ecology practices, in combination with smart irirgation management, in order to help the farmers become more resilient!

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11-10-2022 

This Thursday (October 13) we will present some of our work during the FAOScience and Innovation Forum 2022, together with several other stakeholders from the Netherlands and Bangladesh. The side event, "Salinity, a complex global challenge with a need for an integrated approach" with cover several aspects of saline agriculture.

07-09-2022

Earlier this year we were in Morocco for a Saline Farming Assessment Mission, funded by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). We visited different locations to understand the local conditions and discuss the challenges and the needs of the stakeholders. Based on the results we are now preparing the approach for implementing scalable solutions in Morocco, regarding the crop cultivation under saline conditions and integrated water management.

08-08-2022

To create opportunities for salt-affected farmland, the first step is to understand the salinity challenges of the location. The Salt Doctors work all over the world on salinity assessments and the mapping of opportunities to increase the crop yield under saline conditions. Please have a look at this video that we made about this part of our work, which also includes some guidelines on soil sampling and analysis!

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June 2022

We were in Morocco for salinity assessments, stakeholder meetings and mapping of opportunities for next steps, together with Victor Langenberg of Acacia Water. We travelled to the oasis ecosystems in the east as well as the agricultural areas around Marrakech and Agadir. In all places salinity and water scarcity is a major concern, especially with the current drought.

We see several options for setting up demo's of potential solutions!

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April 2022

The harvest may be the best part of any training! We always combine field trials with a training so we can focus on the practical skills that are needed to go from a succesful pilot to scalable solutions. In the south of Iraq, almost all farmers are facing salinity issues.

For this training we introduced 2 potato varieties and worked with organic mulching as one of the treatments. Although the farmers West of Basra are forced to irrigate with a salinity level of 6 dS/m we were still able to obtain a calculated yield of 60 tons per hectare!

Next step is to validate the market opportunities that were identified before and to validate the yields on a larger scale.

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06-10-2022

Last week we were in Vietnam to provide a masterclass program on saline agriculture. Always a pleasure to work with such a motivated group and great interactions with the experts from Vietnam as well as from the Netherlands! Besides the knowledge sharing, we are also working on setting up demo's in the field, validating different crops varieties and showcasing low-cost hydroponic systems that may be the solution for crop cultivation during the dry season.
The program is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a great development that such an organization also sees the need and opportunities for crop cultivation under saline conditions! Also great work by NWP (Netherlands Water Partnership) for executing the program, in close collaboration with the Vietnamese partners such as Can Tho University, Nông Lâm University, SIWRR, Vietnam Farmers' Union, Digital Agricultural Association. For this first training session we teamed up with Royal Eijkelkamp and in close collaboration with Peter Prins, Ingrid Korving and Cor Verbruggen.
Looking forward to seeining the progress and the next training session!

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02-09-2022 (only in Dutch)
De droogte zal niemand ontgaan zijn, niet alleen in Nederland maar in heel Europa. Deze maand worden de eerste oogsten van vele akkers gehaald en zal duidelijk worden hoeveel de gewassen hebben geleden onder de droogte, maar ook onder de verzilting. Een lastig onderscheid, want droogte en verzilting leiden op het eerste gezicht vaak tot eenzelfde soort gewasschade.
In dit artikel gaan Arjen de Vos en Bas Bruning van The Salt Doctors samen met Tine te Winkel en Jouke Velstra van Acacia Water hier dieper op in.

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05-07-2022

It was our pleasure to show the Cuban delegation the different ways we can use to prevent, mitigate ánd adapt to increasing salinization. On the island of Texel in the Netherlands there are examples of smart water management like rainwater harvesting of Acacia Water, but also salt tolerant potato and halophytes like Groentehelden Texel are cultivating are part of an integrated solution. Many of these solutions are also relevant for Cuba and many other countries!

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June 2022

As part of our activities of the DeSalt project in Egypt, we have performed an economic analysis of the yield of different potato varieties, cultivated under saline conditions. The DeSalt project focusses on optimizing the cultivation and water management under degraded and saline conditions and is supported by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and NL-Masr Agri-food Network. For this project, several Dutch and Egyptian organizations work together to establish new business opportunities and market opportunities for Egyptian farmers, regarding climate smart agriculture. The mentioned The mentioned research has been published in the FAO proceeding of the Global Symposium on Salt-Affected Soils (INSAS). Also good to mention that although there is already a clear market opportunity, this is based on the actual potato prices of that year which were extraordinarily low. When using more common potato market prices in Egypt, the profit increased to 88% instead of the reported 14%.

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Mei 2022

"The damage is likely to be so severe that salinization will become a major cause of environmental refugees, as people flee land that will no longer sustain them."

 

Creating opportunities for salt-affected farmland is the mission of The Salt Doctors and this article shows once again why this is so important!

Read this article at Yale Environment 360

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