Home > Basin > Indo-Ganges > Harnessing productivity of salt-affected areas of the Indo-Gangetic, Mekong and Nile Basins (PN07)

Full Project Title: Development of technologies to harness the productivity potential of salt-affected areas of the Indo-Gangetic, Mekong and Nile River basins (PN07)


Soil salinity and alkalinity impact nearly 100 M ha of coastal and inland agricultural lands of which about 22 M ha are in Asia. Because of their vast scale and the high proportion of poor farmers on these lands, and as these soils have productivity potential that can be harnessed through proper technology intervention, even a modest improvement of yields in such soils can ensure food security for millions of hungry and impoverished people.

Rice is suitable for rehabilitating salt-affected soils because it can grow under flooding and has high potential for genetic improvement. But rice productivity in salt-affected areas is low and could be raised by 1–2 t/ha, providing food for millions of the poorest people and making use of some of the least exploited land and water resources.

The project, with 11 partners in five countries, aimed to enhance land and water productivity of rice-based cropping systems in salt-affected areas by integrating genetic improvement and management strategies that are environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • Identifying rice and non-rice (including forage) crops and varieties tolerant to salt stress; unraveling the underlying mechanisms of tolerance, transferring tolerance into suitable varieties, and evaluating them in partnership with farmers along with crop management practices to permit their use in salty or alkaline soils.
  • Synthesis reports on farmers’ practices and coping strategies identified technological constraints along with the areas for improving farmers’ livelihoods through improved and more stable rice-based system productivity, lower production and reclamation costs, and better income. The adoption of new interventions has been increasing among farmers and is associated with higher farmers’ income and lower production costs.
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • In the Indo-Gangetic basin, improved salt-tolerant rice varieties, CNRM practices, and rice-based cropping systems were validated through farmers’ participatory research, and disseminated by farmer-managed demonstration trials, organizing farmers’ field days and visits to experimental sites as well as publishing and distributing extension materials and using mass media.
  • The model rice-tiger shrimp was considered to be suitable for salt-affected soil, generated good income and social benefits, and increased rice grain yield by more than 20% compared with rice monoculture in the coastal Mekong Delta of Vietnam.
  • In the Nile Basin, both rice and salt-tolerant fodder crops were introduced for testing as part of the cropping system to enhance income and provide options for forage and seed production, most with shorter duration that can fit into current cropping cycles.  Seed demand for these crops is increasing and farmer-to-farmer seed exchange is taking place. The non-rice crops increase diversity and cropping intensity, and hold great promise for out-scaling.
Publications and Outputs

To view all outputs from project PN07 visit our document repository.

Selected publications and outputs

Journal papers

  1. Castillo, E.G., Tuong T. P., Ismail, A.M., Inubushi K. 2007. Response to salinity in rice: Comparative effects of osmotic and ionic stresses. Plant Production Science Vol 10, No. 2, p. 159-170.
  2. Namita Srivastava, V. Vadez, L. Krishnamurthy, K. B. Saxena, S.N. Nigam and A. Rupakula. 2007. Screening technique for salinity tolerance in groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) and pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan). Indian Journal of Crop Science.
  3. Salam, M A, M A Rahman, M A R Bhuiyan, K Uddin, M R A Sarker, R Yasmeen and M S Rahman. 2007. BRRI Dhan47: A salt tolerant variety for the Boro season. International Rice Research Notes (IRRI), Philippines, Vol. 32, No. 1, p. 42-43.
  4. Singh, RK, Mishra, B. and Gregorio, G.B. 2006. CSR 23 : a new salt tolerant rice variety for India.  International Rice Research Notes. 31(1): 16-18. June 2006.
  5. Vadez, A., Krishnamurthy, L., Serraj, R., Gaur, P.M., Upadhyaya, H.D., Hoisington, D.A., Varshney, R.K., Turner, N.C., Siddique, K.H.M. 2007. Large variation in salinity tolerance in chickpea is explained by differences in sensitivity at the reproductive stage. Field Crops Research (104) 2007, p.123-129.
  6. Walia, H., Wilson C., Zeng, L., Ismail A.M., Condamine P., Close T. J. 2007. Genome-wide transcriptional analysis of salinity stressed japonica and indica rice genotypes during panicle initiation stage. Plant Molecular Biology Vol.63, No.5, p.609-623.

Conference papers

  1. Adorada, D.L, G Gregorio, P Jose, A Santos, RD Mendoza. A “SNAP” technique in screening rice for salinity tolerance at seedling stage (Annex 7). The Philippine J. Crop Sci. 30:54 Abstracts, 18th Conference of the Federation of Crop Science Society of the Philippines, 2-6 May 2005.
  2. Islam, M.R., G.B. Gregorio, B.C.Y. Collard, E. Tumimbang-Raiz, D.L. Adorada, R.D. Mendoza, M.A. Salam, and L. Hassan. Application to Rice Breeding Populations and Haplotype Diversity of Molecular Markers for Salinity Tolerance in Chromosome 1. CSSP Conference, 8-12 May 2006.
  3. Thomson, M.J., De Ocampo, M., Egdane, J., Katimbang, M., Rahman, M.A., Singh, R.K., Gregorio, G.B. and Ismail, A.M. QTL mapping and marker-assisted backcrossing for improved salinity tolerance in rice. In: Proceedings of BioAsia 2007: 6th Asian Crop Science Association Conference and 2nd International conference on rice for the future, Bangkok, Thailand, 5-9 November 2007, pages 6-12.
  4. Melgar, R.J., Singh, R.K., Gregorio, G.B., Adorada, D., Nejad, G.M. Molecular and morphological characterisation of 30 rice genotypes using microsatellite markers for the reproductive stage salinity tolerance. Abstract proceedings of 36th Crop Science Society of Philippines, Palawan, 8-12 May 2006 (Abstract no. PBG-084), page 108.
Final Report
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.




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