Saline Water and Food Systems

The Netherlands has a solid and promising position in the field of salinity, with a focus on saline agriculture, growing of salt-tolerant crops, linkages with irrigation and drainage. The Netherlands is internationally also known for its integral and systems approach in tackling the mitigating and adaptation of salinity issues. The general picture is that better coordination and cooperation between Dutch organisations is needed to keep and strengthen that international position. More importantly, it will further strengthen the Netherlands contribution to tackling salinisation and thus contributing to SDG2 – Zero Hunger. For this reason, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality invited Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP) and Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) to develop the partnership or platform on ‘Saline Water & Food Systems’ (SW&FS).


The overall goal of the partnership is to strengthen the cooperation of the Dutch Saline Water and Food Systems sector in the international context. The necessity and relevance of this goal is widely endorsed. The sector parties acknowledged that there is ample fragmentation regarding stakeholders, clusters of organisations, research, and financing(instruments), besides the challenge for the water management and agriculture/food-sectors to find each other on the nexus. Collaboration would also benefit from a more coherent Dutch government policy. The network dealing internationally with SW&FS is relatively compact, with an emphasis on knowledge parties, a large variation in the business community with proactive and innovative SMEs and larger businesses interested in mitigation and adaptation.

A strong and coherent vision is now missing. Such a joint vision and clear common approach on research, innovation, pilots and feasible scaling, would support the profiling and implementation of programs in emerging economies and developing countries. The need for an integrated or systems approach is widely acknowledged, which implicates additional challenges for collaboration. Before profiling abroad and becoming more successful, the collaboration in the Netherlands itself should be well organised. The partnership will not be a global partnership but will interact and collaborate with international partners as well as with centres in the Netherlands with a national focus.

The end goal is to create more impact by implementing concrete projects in LMICs. A joint vision, sharing information, networking, setting the agenda and branding are necessary to get those projects going. Vice versa, projects will subsequently lead to an increase in expertise, generate new linkages, and support branding (as a cyclic approach). The main objectives are as follows:

  1. Developing a shared vision and sharing knowledge and experience s
  2. Linking networks, organisations and persons
  3. Informing/influencing policy and research agendas:
  4. 'Branding’ the Netherlands knowledge and experience:
  5. Initiating implementation projects


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Babette Bodlaender

Netherlands Food Partnership