Food production in the Mekong delta is suffering from multiple stressors: the hot climate encourages the development of pests, and the rise of the sea level has led to saltwater intrusion. Both hamper the growth of crops. We selected three high-value crops – peanuts, maize and beetroot – to study crops’ response to different levels of saline irrigation in a net house experiment in Tra Vinh. This study serves as the basis for improving crop cultivation under saline conditions, and it can be used to establish thresholds for the use of saline water in irrigation.
In Wageningen, we studied the resistance of chili pepper accessions to whitefly and tested the best accessions for their ability to withstand stress from saline irrigation. We found out that resistance to whitefly is hampered by saline irrigation: the stressors interact, increasing the pressure on the crop. As a solution to make crops stronger, we explored the application of biostimulants. The principle is stimulating nutrient use efficiency of crops or improving crops’ resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Video coming soon