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Saline Water & Food Systems

Agricultural field
Salinisation is rapidly becoming one of the biggest challenges to food production worldwide. Salt-affected soils occur naturally, for example in arid and semi-arid areas with little precipitation. Along coastal regions and in deltas, salinity intrusion through tidal dynamics and sea level rise is increasingly impacting agricultural production. Salinity severely affects crop development and growth, threatening food security, biodiversity, and the livelihoods of millions of people in various parts of the world.

Strengthen cooperation between sectors

For this reason, the Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP) and Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) convene a multi-stakeholder partnership on Saline Water & Food Systems (SW&FS) to strengthen cooperation between the Dutch water and agrifood sectors to address the challenge of salinity in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The partnership consists of knowledge institutes, diverse members of the business community including innovative SMEs, and experts operating locally. It is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality.

An integrated approach

Responses to salinity depend on the local context and can range from mitigation (e.g. salinity intrusion prevention) to adaptation (e.g. salt-tolerant crops). The Netherlands has a solid and promising position in both areas, largely based on interventions implemented in the coastal zone of the country. In addition, the Netherlands is internationally known for its integrated perspective on water management and its sustainable food systems approach. It is important to have a good understanding of the issue locally and address salinity in an integrated and systematic way.

Creating impact

NWP works to create a greater impact by initiating new research or collaborations that result in the implementation of projects in LMICs. The SW&FS Partnership is an important contribution to achieving SDG 2: Zero Hunger, and SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

Saline Agriculture training courses Vietnam
Saline Agriculture in Vietnam


The SW&FS Partnership primarily stimulates collaboration between Dutch partners with an international focus on salinity. We strategically align with organisations and new initiatives that focus on addressing salinity in the Netherlands, because solid collaboration in the Netherlands is a starting point to profile the Partnership’s expertise and ambitions abroad.

The Partnership prioritises the following activities: 

  • Stimulate coordination and cooperation between Dutch organisations at the interface of water and agriculture, building on existing networks, organisations, and persons working on salinity.
  • Share knowledge and information (highlight project examples, compile an overview of measures to address salinity) through meetings and online platforms.
  • Inform and influence international policy and research agendas.
  • Initiate and support new research, implementation, projects, or collaboration activities. NFP and NWP have supported partners by investing time and/or small amounts of funds (‘seed money’).
  • Develop a joint and coherent vision in dealing with salinity. A joint vision and clear approach towards research, innovation, pilots, and feasible scaling, supports the profiling and implementation of programmes in emerging economies and developing countries.

NWP Support

NWP has both organisational skills and a broad network of expertise. Combined they are a strong recipe for cross-sectoral collaboration and knowledge exchange. If you are looking for ways to empower local organisations and build on the collective knowledge of saline water and food systems by drawing on Dutch expertise, please contact Martijn van Staveren


Saline Water & Food Systems is part of

Water & Agrifood

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