Research outputs

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Main research question/goal
Climate change is putting agriculture in the North Sea region under pressure. Summers are becoming increasingly drier, which means there a shortage of fresh water. Sea-level rise aggravates salt water seepage and causes an increased risk of flooding. An answer to this challenge lies in 'saline agriculture' where arable fields and pasture are irrigated with salt or brackish water instead of fresh water. This special form of agriculture has the potential to ensure food production in the coastal region in the long term but saline agriculture requires adapted crops. The aim of the SALFAR research project is to find salt-loving and salt-tolerant crops, assess their economic potential and explore the various socio-economic barriers to saline agriculture.

Research approach
We set up ten test sites for saline agriculture in the North Sea region. These test sites serve as a 'living lab' and are the motor of the project. The researchers test various crops and cultivars for their salt tolerance. In addition, the test sites are a demonstration platform for the potential of saline agriculture. In Flanders, research focuses on the socio-economic barriers to saline agriculture. Through intensive interaction with farmers, agricultural organizations and policy makers from various sectors, ILVO investigates salinization and explores the desirability and potential of saline agriculture in the Flemish coastal region.

Through the SALFAR project, we obtain the necessary knowledge and insights about salinization and we explore the potential of saline agriculture. In the first period of this study, the Flemish coastal region was acutely affected by drought in the summer of 2017. This made it clear just how much local agriculture depends on fresh water. Due to the ban on agricultural irrigation with groundwater or surface water, after the drought several farmers had problems.

External partner(s)
Emder Bürgerstiftung Regionales Umweltbildungszentrum Ökowerk Emden
Göteborgs Universitet
Norges Miljø og Biovitenskapelige Universitet
Provincie Groningen
Salt Farm Foundation
Stichting 'De Zilte Smaak'
Stichting Proefboerderijen Noordelijke Akkerbouw (SPNA)
University of Lincoln
Videncenter for Fødevareudvikling (VIFU)
Vlaamse Landmaatschappij
Effective start/end date12/06/1731/12/21

ID: 5687464