Israel is already famous worldwide for growing peppers and tomatoes in the arid, salty conditions of the desert.
Now, an Israeli company has come up with an innovative way of enabling a wide range of crops, including rice, wheat and cotton, to grow in saline soils on a large, commercial scale.
On Sunday, Dotan Borenstein was out with his team from SaliCrop, based in central Israel’s Kfar Vitkin, to sow carrot seeds in trial beds in saline soil close to the Gaza border.
Carrots are particularly sensitive to salt, and in that area, the land has become saltier over time because recycled sewage water is used for irrigation.
Unless naturally adapted to cope with salt, most plants suffer and even die if the soil is too salty.
Salinity is caused by many factors, some human in origin.
Salts are deposited in the soil by chemicals added to drinking water, by fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides and even by recycled sewage water, which is widely used in Israeli agriculture.
Climate change is also encouraging salinization.
With rising sea levels, salty water is increasingly able to enter subterranean sweet water aquifers and to come crashing into low-lying coastal areas, during storms whose intensity is predicted to increase.
Read More: Times of Israel