Did you know that 2/3 of the planet’s surface is covered with water? But, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh and almost 70 percent is intended for agriculture and takes up around 50 percent of the planet’s land.
However, with the serious problems like soil degradation and climate change, the useful cropland is reducing at an alarming rate.
So, it can be of aid to grow crops using all of the available salt water-the answer lies in salinity. Most of the crops aren’t able to grow in these salty environments.
But, a new start-up called Agrisea is working to change this.
Agrisea-Growing Rice Successfully Using Saltwater
The company created a floating farm ecosystem which grows crops on saltwater. They don’t use any soil, fertilizers or fresh water.
They’re currently participants in the life science accelerator IndieBio that has $250,000 in seed funding. The founder of Agrisea, Luke Young, said that they looked at salt water and saw a nutrient soup.
He met with Roby Hornby, the co-founder, while they were studying plant genetics and regeneration of tissues at Durham University.
They collaborated to create a method to use the natural nutrients that are plenty in oceans and sustain plants such as algae. And, the goal was to use them to apply them to some of the most popular crops.
After 2 years, they managed to develop rice seeds tolerant to salt that are able to thrive in oceans or in paddies with seawater. These seeds don’t produce methane, a climate concern for the farming of rice.
Besides rice, the start-up has also developed salt-tolerant kale seeds. They’re also working on soy and corn.
How Is Rice Grown in Saltwater?
These engineered seeds go into the modular floating ocean mini-farms that are very similar to honeycombs, each around a foot in diameter.
Each of the units has a double mesh layer- the top one holds in the plants and the one on the bottom is a fish nursery.
This can be a very beneficial and sought-out method if we take into account that the global population is expected to reach around 10 billion by 2050 and that the land and water are finite, and a lot of companies are trying to locate economical and sustainable ways to grow food.
Agrisea’s method has a lot of potential-although it’s still untested tech, if it turns out successful, their saltwater farms could have a major impact on the global agriculture.
Moreover, farmers will no longer need to rely on freshwater and land and the methane emissions will be dropped down in the process.
Areas that are already facing the terrible effects of climate change will especially beneficial from this agricultural technology.