An Israeli start-up has developed a technology that allows farmers to grow crops despite the salinity of the water or soil that they have at their disposal, offering a hope to overcome challenges related to droughts and scarcity of fresh water.As explained to The Jerusalem Post
by the company’s CEO Dotan Borenstein, the idea behind Kfar Vitkin-based SaliCrop was first formulated by when Rca Godbole, a plant biologist from India
, visited Israel and met agronomist Omar Massarwa and agricultural engineer Sharon Devir. The group decided to pursue a project that would help coastal farmers in the area of Mumbai.“It was 2013. For a few years, they worked under the radar in central Israel to achieve a proof of concept of their idea on several types of produce,” he explained. “Afterwards they went to experiment our solution in the fields, irrigating the crops with salty water.”The product offered by SaliCrop does not involve the use of any Genetically Modified Organism, but it is based on wet chemistry.“The materials are completely safe and give the crops a form of ‘immunity’ from salt and also drought conditions,” Bernstein said.In 2018, the technology started to be employed by farmers both in Israel and India. Over time, it has been used on a variety of crops, including rice, corn, wheat, millet, tomatoes, spinach, and coriander.“Two months ago we started to experiment also with cotton in India,” the CEO pointed out.Overall, the use of SaliCrop’s solution has increased the crop production
between 12 and 32%, all other conditions being equal.“Our vision is to allow small farmers, bigger farmers and even countries to practice agriculture under difficult conditions and in areas where before it was not economically viable,” Borenstein concluded.
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