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Potato cultivation under saline conditions in the area of Basrah, Iraq




The Salt Doctors was commissioned by Delphy to perform this research and training project.

The overall project “Make Horticultural Knowledge Work” is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme,

implemented by Nuffic and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


6 months, November 2021-April 2022


Project description:

The Salt Doctors has been commissioned by Delphy to take part in a practical training, regarding potato cultivation under saline conditions, in the area of Basrah, Iraq. This training focusses on the staff of Basrah University and the actual planting of potato has taken place at three locations. One location is located at Basrah University, the two other locations are private farms, located to the West and North of Basrah. During two training sessions on location, as well as online assistance, a salinity assessment was performed and a plan for field implementation was developed. Two varieties of potato have been planted and an organic mulch treatment was compared to a control treatment.  Monitoring of the salinity levels during the season took place. Based on the yield results, recommendations for further developments have been composed.



During the two weeks of training on location, several aspects of salinity assessments, crop salt tolerance, soil improving cropping systems and irrigation management under saline conditions were covered. Of the two potato varieties, one variety showed good potential for further implementation. The mulch treatment resulted in a 29% yield increase, on average. Although salinity levels are high in the area of Basrah it does seem possible to introduce commercial potato cultivation when using the appropriate potato variety, in combination with specific soil improving cropping systems and irrigation management.

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