The Egyptian biodynamic association (EBDA) is the largest organic and biodynamic farmers association in Egypt. Currently, the EBDA is running a research trial which addresses solutions for saline agricultural soils.
Many member farmers are suffering under a high level of salinity in soils or irrigation water which in the end can badly affect the yield and quality of the crops. This project, called the De-Salt Project, was jointly started with our dutch partners Necttaerra, the Salt Doctors and Delphy to create a model to Lead farmers, convincing and training farmers on saline agriculture.
The EBDA is currently working on two trials: the first one compares eight different types of potatoes that are cultivated on one feddan (42000 square meters) under saline conditions. Eight tons of potatoes were harvested. In organic agriculture potato, the yield normally ranges from 12 to 15 tons per feddan. Considering the saline conditions the yield was satisfying, EBDA concluded.
Another trial was conducted on a one feddan area with extra high salinity which reaches up to 20 ds\m which equals half the salinity of the seawater. This piece represents a high challenge for the crops which usually grow in soils with 3 ds\m. On this plot, EBDA cultivated salt-tolerant varieties such as cauliflower, broccoli, white cabbage, red cabbage and red beet. In addition to a number of treatments, for instance, certain planting systems have been implemented in order to wash the salts down instead of being affected on the surface which causes accumulation for the salts around the plant roots. These different treatments enable the plants to be more adaptive to these severe conditions of high salinity. After harvesting the winter season, the summer season begins in June with crops like eggplant, chili, okra, or maize.
One of De-Salt’s aims is to train and build capacity for farmers and stakeholders. Hence, EBDA organizes regular training sessions for our 38 EBDA extension engineers from all over Egypt. The experts are therefore well prepared to disseminate the knowledge to each of the member farmers in Egypt. Lika that the De-Salt project can reach especially those farmers who are affected by medium to high salinity and who need solutions for successful cultivation that does not harm the soil and environment.
People in SEKEM: Ahmed Shaker