Global warming has generated a host of rotten repercussions, the most dramatic being a considerable rise in the sea level. One of the damaging side effects of the rising level of the sea is the increased salinity of groundwater in many areas. The surge in salty water makes it difficult for farmers to produce reasonable yields from their crops. It is estimated that growing salinity costs growers over $12 billion each year, and affects 20% of irrigated lands. To address this problem, a new Israeli start-up, Salicrop, has developed a unique solution. Salicrop has devised a method to improve crop yield, despite increased water salinity.
I first learned about Salicrop at SOCH, a joint Israeli-Indian competition
Preliminary research of Salicrop’s seed treatment was conducted in India, Israel, and Spain. The company tested their technology on peppers, tomatoes, and spinach. Initial significant results with vegetables encouraged Salicrop to check the technology on additional crops, i.e., corn, wheat, and rice. In all cases, the treatment worked, and crop yields increased by up to 30%.
Salicrop became part of the Acceleration Program of the Yachin Group and Tech For Good. The company has begun working on pilot programs with major seed manufacturers. Salicrop’s business model is to work with existing seed manufacturers and treat specific seed groups that will then be marketed to farmers. Although seeds treated by Salicrop are substantially more expensive than standard seeds, a 30% increase in crop yield repays that investment many times over.
While Salicrop alone cannot solve all of the many food challenges the world faces, it can make a significant contribution, by mitigating at least one of the more substantial problems in worldwide food management.