Exploring the potential of saline agriculture in the North Sea region with focus on saline adaptation solutions

28 June 2021 - Published by Laila Dam
In cooperation with the SalFar partners Waddenacademie and De Zilte Smaak, the master student Simon Verboom from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental Studies, is exploring the potential of saline agriculture in the North Sea region with a specific focus on saline adaptation solutions.

“I have studied this potential by firstly mapping ‘what is out there’. I have been searching online and reached out to 20+ actors within the field. The inventory consists of (so far)  50 initiatives that fit the definition, located in Belgium (4), Germany (3), Denmark (3), the Netherlands (32), Norway (3), Sweden (1) and United Kingdom (4). The majority of the initiatives involves running trials, although some organizations that are considered relevant for expanding the saline agriculture field have been added as well”, Simon explains.

The main agriculture types that have been categorized are halophyte agriculture (33 initiatives, focused on expanding the market of e.g., samphire, sea lavender and quinoa) and conventional crop agriculture (30 initiatives, e.g., testing potato irrigation with brackish water, studying salt-tolerance for carrot, beet or grain types). Some initiatives are involved in both.

Furthermore, Simon has explored six cases, where he has been evaluating from a governance angle how they are collaborating on solutions, what actors are involved, what solutions have been generated and what drives the initiatives.

“Although this thesis has been exploratory and not that extensive yet, it has attempted to demonstrate that many initiatives experimenting with adaptation in saline agriculture can be found in the North Sea region. Many of the operations are involved in a network where knowledge can be diffused, in which SalFar has played a major role, and both for halophytes and conventional crop techniques examples have been provided of significant upscaling potential” Simon concludes.