SalFar (saline farming), is a project which aims to mitigate the potential threats of salinisation through a collaboration of climate experts, researchers, educators, farmers, entrepreneurs and policy makers. In order to accomplish this, the project will conduct research on the salt tolerance of crops, demonstrating alternative methods of farming under saline conditions and creating new business opportunities for farmers, food producers and entrepreneurs.

The project is co-funded by the European Union Interreg programme for the North Sea Region and involves partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the UK (The University of Lincoln’s School of Geography, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology and the Lincoln International Business School) and in line with the ongoing project research, there will be a conference held in 2019:

The EU Interreg North Sea Region project SalFar will organise a scientific conference “Saline Futures: Addressing Climate Change and Food Security”. The conference will be held from 10-13 September 2019 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

“Salinity is increasing world-wide because of fresh water scarcity, climate change, and sea level rise. Salt-tolerant crops and innovative agricultural practices will help to ensure food security. This international conference will demonstrate and discuss the potential with contributions from the North Sea Region and other countries around the world” says Prof Pier Vellinga from the Wadden Academy, who is one of the main organisers.

Image credit: Salt Farm Texel

Research underway along the North Sea countries and elsewhere in the world illustrates the vast and so far, underrated potential of growing food on soils generally qualified as saline. Food production on present and future saline soils deserves the world’s attention, in particular because 1) food security is a pressing issue, 2) millions of hectares of degraded soils are available world-wide, 3) fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce, and 4) global sea level rise threatens food production in fertile coastal lowlands.

Capitalising on the vast potential of saline agriculture requires a major interdisciplinary and collaborative research effort to inform effective and supportive policy frameworks and to evaluate the most promising methods for developing saline agriculture in different regions of the globe. The conference intends to build on the conclusions of earlier conferences, such as FAO’s Global Forum on Salinisation and Climate Change, Salinity Forum and ICBA’s International Workshop on Climate Change and Soil Salinity Dynamics.

The aim of the conference is to showcase the potential of saline agriculture and to create a platform for researchers and research-users to enhance food production on saline lands. The conference is targeted at all stakeholders, including political decision makers, business operators, land managers, civic society, researchers and research planners.

The conference will address themes such as saline agriculture as a way to adapt to climate change and sea level rise, fresh water management in potentially saline soils, revitalisation of saline degraded lands, economics and financing of saline farming and products, microbiology of soils and plants, innovation and practical experience at farm level, experiments and promising crops. During this two-day scientific conference participants will have the possibility to visits test fields at Texel, Terschelling, Emden and possibly additional sites along the North Sea coast.

For more information and to register for the conference please visit the website of the Wadden Academy.

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