A Soil Salinity Map for Farmers in the Southern Regions
The soil salinity map is one of the flagship achievements of the Foum El Oued integrated agricultural project based in the Laayoune region. Presented in an interactive form at SIAM 2018, the map attracted the attention of many visitors intrigued by its usefulness.
Launched by the Phosboucraa Foundation, the salinity map is one of the flagship achievements of the Foum El Oued integrated agricultural project. The map, presented in interactive form at SIAM 2018, caught the attention of all visitors, whether they were agronomy students, farmers, or just visitors. Everyone wanted to know the purpose of this innovation as well as its impact on farmers.
Easy to use, the interactive soil salinity map took young and old on a journey through the municipality of Foum El Oued, located in the coastal region of Laayoune, 18 kilometers from the city of Laayoune. This region has several natural constraints that negatively affect the crop yields of farmers who don’t yet have the technical skills to adapt their farming practices to their soil type. And soil salinity is a key factor. To help them, the Phosboucraa Foundation, in collaboration with the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), the Regional Directorate of Agriculture (DRA), and the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), has launched an agricultural development pilot project in the Foum El Oued perimeter. The soil salinity map is a tool that provides farmers with information on soil salinity levels, four of which were determined, ranging from 0 to 16 g/L. The proposed approach makes it possible to carry out soil and water analyses, select salt-tolerant species on the basis of studies carried out at the Foum El Oued site, and follow a farming management protocol that can guarantee good yields while reducing the negative impact of salinity. Among the new species shown to be salt-tolerant are quinoa, sesbania, fodder beet, millet, barley, blue panicum, and the cowpea plant. Thanks to this innovation, farmers on 52 farms with an average surface area of 8 ha now have the opportunity to cultivate their land sustainably to improve their incomes, and, consequently, their lives and those of their families.