The UN estimates that at least 1 billion hectares of land are currently affected by salinity and the world loses at least 3 hectares of arable land every minute due to salinization. In Pakistan, 4.2 million hectares of land are affected by salt. With limited freshwater resources available, farmers are forced to use brackish groundwater to water their crops, reducing overall yields and quality.
MetaMeta is a Netherlands-based development consultancy that partnered with SaltFarmTexel to introduce salt-tolerant potatoes to the Pakistani market. In Pakistan, floods and sea water intrusion wipe out crops with increasing regularity. Their salt-tolerant potato crop offers an alternative to 250 million people globally that live on salt-afflicted soil.
Milestones and Achievements
After the first year, MetaMeta has produced 16 tons of salt-tolerant potatoes and saved nearly 10.3 million liters of water. The innovator successfully grew their crop in water with a salinity of 8.7 dS/m. In 2014, MetaMeta planted demonstration crops in Pakistan. The innovator held two “open days” this year, attended by USAID, Al Jazeera, the Dutch ambassador to Pakistan, local farmers, distributors, and sales representatives.
The first potato crops were successfully harvested in April of 2015. MetaMeta is building a cohort of farmers interested in testing their potato varieties, and have 10 end users so far. Numerous restaurants and hotels have also expressed interest in testing the quality.
- Advice in creating a legal structure upon which the three partners in the innovator’s consortium can operate and conduct business.
- Assistance in building brand awareness among potential growers of the salt-tolerant potato and promotion of partnership opportunities with local growers.