4 Crop management
Use of salt-tolerant varieties
Aceh’s high rainfall meant that salinity was not a long-term problem in most areas, so there was not a great need for salt-tolerant varieties of crops. However, it was useful to have access to seed or planting material of salt-tolerant varieties, particularly in the early months after the tsunami and where salinity problems occurred in rainfed rice fields. Although no rice varieties are truly salt-tolerant, some varieties in Indonesia—Mendawak, Sunggal and Banyuasin—appear to be more salt-tolerant than others. Rice variety AT354 outperformed a variety that was not salt-tolerant (AT362) in trials on tsunami-affected land in Sri Lanka (Reichenauer et al. 2009).
Many salt-tolerant tree crops are recommended for revegetating coastal areas and re-establishing income-producing tree crops. Chaudhary et al. (2006) recommend a range of varieties of salt-tolerant field and tree crops specific to Tamil Nadu, India.
Following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, researchers investigated the use of salt-tolerant varieties of rice. However salt-tolerant cultivars were not adopted by farmers because the taste was not comparable with rice varieties available in the Japanese market. Instead, farmers selected alternative salt-tolerant crops, such as sunflower and rapeseed.
The salt-tolerance thresholds for a large range of different crops are presented in Tanji and Kielen (2002).