India is a country of 1.4 billion people, and the world’s second largest producer of rice. India produces more than 275 million metric tonnes of grain, including rice, each year, and this agricultural production provides a livelihood for 70% of India’s rural households. Within this, more than 80% of Indian farmers are small and marginal, with land of less than a hectare.
With the importance of agriculture economically, and with 1.43 billion mouths to feed in ten years, increasing agricultural output and protecting small farms is extremely important. However, the pressures of climate change make this difficult. Already, more than 6 million hectares of otherwise arable land in India are affected by salinity. This area is growing by 10% each year, and by 2050, half of the country’s land is expected to be salinized.
SaliCrop has been active in India for the past four years, working on rice field trials with farmers, and has found that its treatment can increase production by 20% in salty conditions. More recently, SaliCrop has been working on trials in India involving pearl millet, a “nutri-cereal” which the UN is actively encouraging production of, in part by declaring 2023 the “International year of millets.”
Dr Rca Godbole, SaliCrop lead scientist (left), Shri Tomar, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (center), and Carmit Oron, SaliCrop CEO (right).
Millet is rich in vitamins, and also good for soil both through crop-diversification and by nitrogen fixing. SaliCrop hopes to increase the production of this already resilient crop by increasing its salt tolerance, thus helping to provide an important source of nutrition and soil restoration.
Recently, a delegation from India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, headed by Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, visited Israel and met with several leaders in agriculture technology and development. SaliCrop leaders met with this delegation and discussed future partnerships and projects in India. SaliCrop is looking forward to working with FPOs in India, helping support small farmers in the face of the climate crisis.
Meeting with the Indian Agriculture and Farmers Welfare delegation