Saltland Agronomy and Future Agriculture
Many champion seawater-based agriculture as a new frontier in the quest for food security. This involves using seawater to grow ‘halophytes,’ or salt-loving plants.
We haven’t suddenly discovered halophytes; they have been known and grown by coastal communities for a long time. The progress being made is in terms of identifying species that are nutritious, can grow in a variety of conditions, and have several uses other than as food.
So Salicornia, a fleshy green plant, is generating much interest. It grows in salt marshes, on beaches and among mangroves… in North America, Europe, South Africa and South Asia. Salicornia’s European and North American species often find their way to restaurants and grocery stores. Experiments show that it can be used as a substitute for popular animal fodder such as Alfalfa, as an oilseed crop, and as a bio-fuel. (More info on Salicornia)
Halophytes are part of saltwater-agronomic systems that sustain communities living on marginal land. Such systems have many lessons for the wider world in a resource-scarce future. In TheWaterChannel webinar next week (September 24, 1400 GMT), agronomist Shoaib Ismail (ICBA, Dubai) will discuss this idea, and all the research/experiments it is inspiring.
Click here for more information on the topic, related resources, how to attend the webinar, and local timings (it is free and open to all) .