Vb Innovative ways of farming in times of climate change

Project Title
Vb Innovative ways of farming in times of climate change
Priority 3 Sustainable North Sea Region: Protecting against climate change and preserving the environment
Lead Beneficiary
Contact Person First Name
Contact Person Last Name
Ruiterskwartier 121a
P.O. Box
Postal Code
8911 BS
+31 (0)58 2339030
Central Aim

To develop climate change adaptation solutions that reduce or prevent the negative impact of loss or damage of target sites. To demonstrate the possibilities of making use of saline soil and mixed irrigation for agricultural production in the field, incl. professional analysis of costs, advantages, disadvantages and potential improvements. To provide new environmental management solutions across the North Sea Region and beyond.

Project Description

Coastal regions all over the world are confronted with various phenomena caused by changing weather conditions, sudden storms, heavy rainfall, unexpected floods, etc. Also in the North Sea Region, we have to be prepared and try to protect the lower regions, the farmland and the villages along the coasts. Traditionally this is done by building higher and higher dykes during centuries, to separate the sweet water from the saltwater lands. But what about the areas in between? Is there any chance to make use of salinized soil for cultivating crops? Are there ways to test the salt tolerance of crops and make use of the natural resources of plants to adapt to new circumstances? Is it possible to develop new varieties, which can stand higher concentrations of salt in the ground? Yes, there are – 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, they will also contribute to new environmental management solutions across the North Sea Region and beyond. Cultivation of salt tolerant crops will also pave the way to create new production chains and chances for regional entrepreneurs to enlarge and renew their businesses. 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 as a consequence of climate change can be researched under different conditions, while the results can be compared and taken into account for future policies of climate change adaptation, risk prevention and managing the environment  within the North Sea Region and beyond.

Envisaged Output

A shift of paradigm concerning saline soil, salt tolerant crops and environmental management. A clear analysis of costs, advantages, disadvantages and potential improvements of cultivation of crops on brackish water target sites. 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 adaptation and resilience of coastal regions and policy recommendations for other European and world regions who have to cope with the consequences of climate change and saline 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. 

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. Therefore, a shift of paradigm is necessary. This is why we want to develop new solutions to prevent the loss or damage of fertile farmland caused by climate change worldwide. We seek to demonstrate the possibilities to make use of salinized soil and mixed irrigation for agricultural production. and provide new methods of management of the environment. By ensuring transnational co-operation of knowledge institutes, farmers and entrepreneurs, the public sector and consumers, we endeavour to strengthen innovative methods of farming, resource efficiency and risk prevention in dealing with climate change adaptation along the North Sea Region coastal zones and beyond.

Thematic Keywords
Adaptation and resilience
Climate change adaptation
Ecosystem management
Flood control
Sustainable environmental management
Other Keywords
innovative ways of farming, salt tolerant crops, 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), University of Lincoln (UK), University of Gothenburg (S), OlsAro Crop Biotech AB (S), University of Lund (S), Vlaamse Landmaatschappij (B)

Partners Searched

local or regional municpalities, farmers in Germany, Sweden and Norway

Estimated Budget

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