At first, we wish you a very happy new year!
The year 2018 has been a positive one for saline agriculture and for our foundation. We have put in an enormous effort to spread awareness of Saline agriculture globally and on the research and practical application of its methods. In this issue, we would like to mention some important highlights from the past year.
Our most important milestone was the setting up of the knowledge centre - Saline agriculture worldwide. This initiative was made possible with the support from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.
The knowledge centre was set up as a part of the foundation’s mission –
“…(open source) sharing of our knowledge and solutions with small-scale farmers worldwide”.
Climate change and improper farming practices have severely impacted food production and have affected the livelihood of small-holder farmers around the world. Saline agriculture is one of the solutions that can improve the current situation and prepare the farmers to face future conditions.
As a part of our knowledge centre, we are also busy testing different crop varieties in our test field for their salt tolerance. In the coming year, we are also working on setting up training centres in other countries in order to train local farmers and perform testing of local crops to identify the salt-tolerance. We will keep you updated about the development in the coming issues.
In 2019 Salt Farm Foundation will keep continuing with its work to contribute to global food security and water management by sharing awareness and knowledge on Saline agriculture.
Highlights of 2018
Cruquius Penning award 2018: : Our year started with our Director - Marc van Rijsselberghe receiving the Cruquius Penning award from the gemeente Haarlemmermeer for his work on dealing with salinization and world food problems.
The jury of the Cruquius Medal points out: Saline agriculture also contributes to reducing CO2 emissions from peatlands. And that is a growing problem in the Netherlands, which arises due to lowering the peatland for agricultural purposes. According to the jury report: "Marc van Rijsselberghe shows us that there are plant varieties and ways of agriculture that do not require a reduction in the groundwater level and fresh water."
SalFar Project partners meeting, Texel: We hosted the second SalFar project partners meeting on Texel in March 2018. We welcomed around 30 project partners from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom for a visit to the test fields of Salt Farm Texel.
SalFar is a project co-funded by the North Sea Region programme 2014-20, which has set out to develop innovative methods of coastal agriculture across the North Sea Region by setting up field labs in each partnering country. In the field labs a multidisciplinary team,-consisting of climate experts, researchers, educators, farmers, entrepreneurs and policymakers- does scientific research on the salt-tolerance of various crops, demonstrating alternative methods of farming under saline conditions and creating new business opportunities for farmers, food producers, and entrepreneurs.
Picture: Bas Bruning giving a presentation on Do's & Don'ts of Saline Agriculture to the SalFar project partners - March 2018 on Texel
Webinar - Agroport Kherson 2018, Ukraine: On 27 July 2018, together with the Dutch embassy in Ukraine, FAO and the Institute of Water Problems and Soil Reclamation of NAAS, we organized a webinar - "Saline Agriculture: a practical solution to a global problem", at the Agroport South Kherson 2018 (Ukraine).
Background: The Southern regions of Ukraine are the most affected by climate change. High temperatures and irregular precipitations require intensive crop irrigation. All these and other factors make arable farming in the South of Ukraine very risky and bring Soil Salinization at the top of the challenges which face farmers.
Salt Farm visit by United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Food Security & Director General of ICBA: At the invitation of Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten, a delegation from the United Arab Emirates(UAE) visited several Dutch companies. One of the visits were at the Salt Farm Texel on 18 July 2018. Among the delegation was the Minister of Food Security - H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri and the Director of ICBA - Dr. Ismahane Elouafi.
Picture: Dr. Arjen de Vos from Salt Farm Texel, UAE's Minister of food security - H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Marc van Rijsselberghe from Salt Farm Foundation, Director General of ICBA, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi and the crew from KRO's Brandpunt+.
Basic info and soil analysis instructions in multiple languages: To create awareness of saline agriculture on a global level and get farmers started with saline agriculture, we provide information on saline agriculture and how to perform soil analysis in different languages at our knowledge centre.
We currently have the basic information in 10 different languages other than English
Hot and dry 2018: The summer of 2018 has been recorded as one of the warmest in the past century, many countries faced rainfall deficit and long periods of heat waves. This severely affected the agricultural output in many countries. We took this opportunity to spread awareness about the importance of climate-smart agricultural solutions such as Saline agriculture.
Check out our articles about the hot summer of 2018 and how saline agriculture methods were able to mitigate the effect of drought and heat.
TEDxDenHelder 2018: Marc van Rijsselberghe gave a presentation at TEDxDenHelder on the 8th of October 2018. He shared his experience and vision of how saline agriculture can increase the availability of water for agriculture, improve global food security and improve the livelihood of small-holder farmers around the world.
Watch: How SaltFarms reduce hunger?
Salfar Project partners meeting, Sweden: Salt Farm Foundation attended the SalFar Project meeting in Lund, Sweden between October 10 and 12. For three days, project partners discussed the progress, next steps and the challenges within the project. We also visited Oatly and Lantmännen to know more about their innovative and sustainable approaches.
Additionally, Salt Farm Foundation presented its newly setup international knowledge centre on Saline agriculture to the partners to explore the possibility of future cooperation and development of knowledge that could benefit the regions beyond the North Sea countries.
Brandpunt+ @ NPO2: Brandpunt+ made a report on our founder and our organisation which was telecasted on a National Dutch television channel on 13 November 2018. It covers how our organisation was founded and how Texel, a small Dutch island became a starting point for world food revolution: Saline agriculture.
An improved methodology to evaluate crop salt tolerance from field trials: Together with the scientists from Wageningen University, VU University Amsterdam, Leiden University, Salt Farm Texel and supported by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, we have published a scientific article - "An improved methodology to evaluate crop salt tolerance from field trials".
This article introduces a robust and uniform method to analyse data, paving the way to advance research on salt-tolerant crops and saline agriculture.
Read the press release, the abstract and access the article in this link