VB Project Idea: Innovative Farming in Times of Climate Change

Project Title
VB Project Idea: Innovative Farming in Times of Climate Change
Priority 1 Thinking Growth: Supporting growth in North Sea Region economies
Lead Beneficiary
Contact Person First Name
Contact Person Last Name
Ruiterskwartier 121a
P.O. Box
Postal Code
8911 BS
+31 58 2339030
Central Aim

To create open-air labs along the NSR coastline to demonstrate the possibilities of agricultural prodcution on salinized soil. To set up a transnational R&D infrastructure with a focus on the salt tolerance of crops and to create new production chains and opportunities for regional entrepreneurs to enlarge and renew their businesses. To strengthen innovation capacity building by cooperation between universities, SMEs, and the public sector.

Project Description

The NSR coastlines have been protected against seawater since centuries by higher and higher dykes, fertile sweet water areas been separated from salt water lands, where no crops would grow. But climate change makes it necessary to think differently and to find innovative ways of cultivating crops who can adapt to salt water areas. Small experiments have shown that certain varieties of plants can stand higher concentration of salt in the ground and with our project we seek to explore these possibilities along the coastal regions of all North Sea countries. 

Transnational co-operation and the creation of open-air labs along various coastal zones will enable us to conduct large-scale screening of many different crops and varieties, from potato to beetroot, asparagus or barley to find out which varieties can take in the highest salt concentration. The identified crops can grow on salt affected soils and can be irrigated with brackish water, thereby saving scarce fresh water.

Experiments with the cultivation of salt tolerant crops along the wetlands of the North Sea Region will not only contribute to developing saline agricultural practices and new methods in agriculture along the North Sea Coast, it will also create new production chains and chances for regional entrepreneurs to enlarge and renew their businesses. Smart specialization strategies for the agricultural and food sector in coastal regions can be developed, and, in addition, transnational co-operation between knowledge institutes, farmers and entrepreneurs, the public sector, and consumers will ensure knowledge transfer and boost innovation for the benefit of all North Sea Region countries and wider Europe. In this way, various aspects of salinization and salt water irrigation related to growth and quality of crops and halophytes can be researched under different conditions, while the results can be compared and taken into account for future policies of agriculture and farming in the wetlands within the North Sea Region and beyond.

Envisaged Output

A shared R&D infrastructure with a focus on salinized soil and salt tolerant crops. Results will be compared and taken into account for future policies of agriculture and farming in the wetlands within the North Sea Region. A paper on smart specialization strategies for coastal regions and policy recommendations for other European and world regions who have to cope with the consequences of climate change and salinized soils. A new brand of agricultural and food production from the North Sea region (for instance: "zilt food") to promote the region on a European and world-wide scale. A North Sea Region consultancy office consisting of various experts that can offer advice on salt food production in various countries of the world.

What is the need for this project?

Farming and cultivating crops is an important economic factor in the European Union, and certainly on the fertile grounds of the North Sea Region countries. Not only in this region, it is necessary to cope with the various phenomena of climate change, like for instance the rising of the sea water level, but worldwide about 1.5 billion hectares of land is already salt affected and this number increases by 3 hectares every minute. Agricultural research nowadays is focussed on defeating the further spreading of salinization, but there is simply not enough fresh water supply available. As the world population is expected to grow up to 9 billion in 2050, agricultural production has to increase by 70 %. With a decreasing amount of fresh water, food producers world-wide have to look for new methods and resources. A shift of paradigm is necessary.

This is where we want to start the innovation process: we seek to demonstrate the possibilities to make use of salinized soil and mixed irrigation for agricultural production. By ensuring transnational co-operation of knowledge institutes, farmers and entrepreneurs, the public sector and consumers, we endeavour to strengthen innovation capacity building along the North Sea Region coastal zones and beyond.  

Thematic Keywords
Growth and jobs
Innovation capacity building
New products and services
R&D in SMEs
Shared R&D infrastructure
Smart specialization
Societal challenges
Stimulating innovation
Training and education
Other Keywords
climate change, innovative ways of farming, food production,
Partners Found Already

Waddenacademie (NL) zilt proefbedrijf Texel (NL), Royal HaskoningDHV (NL), province of Groningen (NL), MaRenate Oldenburg (D), Waterplant (D), Ökowerk Emden (D), Biosynergy (DK), Chaudhary Biosysnepal Pvt.Ltd. (Nepal), Environmental Agency, The Wash (UK)

Partners Searched

research institutes, farmers, SMEs, public sector in Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Norway 

Estimated Budget

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