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Saline cultivation in Kenya: Carrot harvest doubled!

Delphy, Saline Farming and Nectaerra have started an agricultural project in Kenya since September 2018. With this project they offer a solution for a negative agricultural process that is often applied in Africa and leads to land degradation (erosion, salinisation and loss of biodiversity) and long-term decreases in crop yields.

The team has jointly drawn up a plan for the short, medium and long term. Bas Bruning of Saline Farming tells; "We use saline cultivation techniques to grow on saline soil and/or water, even in areas that were previously unsuitable for agriculture. For the medium term, we are working on a water buffer, for example through underground water storage and smarter water management. And with modern cultivation knowledge and agroforestry (AF), we will combine crops with trees". Delphy, Saline Farming and Nectaerra receive help from a local Kenyan crop consultant who helps the farmers during these transitional phases with hands-on advice and training.

The first phase of this project started at the end of September; one local carrot variety and two salt-tolerant root varieties were sown by two voluntary farmers in Kenya who suffered a lot from salty water and saline soil.

The first results of this harvest were obtained in mid-December. These are very promising. By using simple soil management and the use of salt-tolerant root varieties it has been shown that it is possible to obtain a doubling of the local root yield. The use of irrigation water (and therefore the use of groundwater) can also be reduced by 20-40% through water management measures.

The project is now entering the second phase. In this phase tools will be developed to provide farmers with means to transform their companies in a structural way and to develop resilient smart climate farms for commercial vegetable production. Water management will be structured and trees will be planted.

In the third phase, the planting of trees will be initiated. Results from research in different parts of the world show that AF intercropping systems make more effective use of sunlight, land, water and nutrients and have fewer diseases and pests. Today AF is recognized as a land use system that produces both food and wood, while ecosystems are protected and rehabilitated.