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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Sharjah researchers look to salt tolerant crops to help boost farms

Soil samples have been collected from the Al Zubair area, for analysis by experts at the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) to begin cultivating crops with salinity resistance

Scientists in Sharjah are working on a project to cultivate plants and crops tolerant to high levels of salt in the soil.
Scientists in Sharjah are working on a project to cultivate plants and crops tolerant to high levels of salt in the soil.

Low water levels in farms across the country has encouraged scientists to experiment on developing salt resistant plants.

Researchers in Sharjah are looking to cultivate salt-tolerant plants to improve productivity and help farmers boost their incomes.

Soil samples have been collected from the Al Zubair area, for analysis by experts at the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) to begin cultivating crops with salinity resistance.

Salinity in the soil can prevent roots from performing their osmotic activity, where water and nutrients cannot move into the plant, having the same impact on growth as a drought.

Cultivating salt resistant crops should help increase the yield for farmers, scientists have said.

“The salinity and low water levels suffered by some of the emirate's farms has prompted the department to utilise the experience of ICBA and attempt to convince farmers to cultivate salt-tolerant plants,” said Salim bin Mohammed Al Naqbi, head of Sharjah's Department of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture.

“The objective is to improve productivity and boost farm income.”

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ICBA is an international, non-profit agricultural research and development centre which focuses on the closely linked issues of water, environment, income, and food security.

The centre conducts research and development programmes that aim to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability in marginal environments.