While everybody is focusing on fresh water and non-saline soils for agricultural production, Salt Farm Texel has a totally different perspective. We are using the saline resources of the world directly by cultivating salt tolerant crops. Salt Farm Texel has set up an open-air laboratory for research and development and the results can be used directly under actual field conditions. This has been validated and implemented in Pakistan with salt tolerant potatoes. More info at www.saltfarmtexel.com
Salt Farm Texel has set up a large research facility under field conditions in The Netherlands. At the research station fresh water and seawater can be mixed into any desired salt concentration. Seven different salt concentrations are used, each with 8 replications. In this way 56 plots of 160 m2 are irrigated (total research location is 1 hectare) in which various crops are tested for salt tolerance. Initally, over 40 different potato varieties have been screened for salt tolerance and this has resulted in the identification of salt tolerant potato varieties that can withstand salinity levels about 3 times higher than previously believed to be possible. The screening for even more salt tolerant varieties is a continuous process and in 2015 over 200 potato varieties were tested for salt tolerance, showing even greater potential for saline cultivation of potato. The results from the open-air laboratory also serve as a reference for cultivation on other locations, like the salt affected areas in Pakistan.
How does your innovation work?
The best potato varieties identified by Salt Farm Texel are used for cultivation in the salt affected areas in Pakistan. After the first year, the project has produced 16 tons of salt tolerant potatoes on salt affected soils and saved nearly 10.3 million liters of fresh water. The yields in Pakistan were consistent with the expected yields based on the research in Holland, so the results were validated under actual field conditions. But the successful cultivation of a salt tolerant potato is more than just the variety itself. Although the selection of a salt tolerant variety is the starting point, research at the facility of Salt Farm Texel also focuses on soil tillage, soil fertility, fertilizers for saline conditions, monitoring and management of soil salinity and irrigation and drainage. All the aspects can further increase the yield under saline conditions and are part of the overall saline cultivation strategy. In the next season the focus will be on increasing the area of cultivation.
What Evidence do you have that your Innovation works?
Yes, see the section"How it works"
Do you have current users or testers?
Farmers in Pakistan, early adopters.
What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?
Continue with the validation in Pakistan and create more demonstration locations to increase the number of early adopters. After these early adopters will show the potential of cultivation on salt affected areas and have shown the economic benefits, many more farmers will follow.
This year we will have 10 hectares of cultivation under salien conditions and this will be increased to 100 hectares next year. This area will be sufficient to expand the use of our innovation.