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Meeting the challenges of a growing population and decreasing arable land

Loss of arable land

– Due to salinity

Salinity is one of the major abiotic stressors affecting crop plants worldwide. According to FAO tere are more than 833 million hectares of salt-affected soils around the globe (8.7% of the planet). And that 20 to 50 percent of irrigated soils in all continents are too salty. Meaning that over 1.5 billion people worldwide face significant challenges in growing food due to soil degradation.

– Due to urbanisation and infrastructures

The growing population takes place mainly in growing cities that spreads into the surrounding rural area.

– Due to erosion and poor soil management

When growing plants in a certain area, it is important to manage the land in a correct way, fertilize the soil, keep soil structure intact, hinder erosion and loss of soil by keeping the soil covered by plants etc. Thus, by raising the general education level among farmers, much more productive soils can be preserved.

Lack of fresh water

According to present prognoses 65% of the global population will be affected of lack of fresh water in 2025. The global warming is the root cause, creating both less precipitation and sea level rise. As a short term ”solution” of fresh water shortage, brackish water is increasingly used for irrigation in agriculture. However, this procedure leads to further soil destruction and lower yields in the more long-term perspective. While positive effects may occur in some regions, drought and extreme heat caused by climate will reduce production yields, especially in areas with suboptimal growing conditions, and increase the demand for wheat imports. Arid and semiarid regions account for approximately 30% of global land area and is inhabited by ca 1.5 billion people, representing a substantial share of global wheat consumers.

Therefore, actions in this sector are urgent and have political, economic and moral imperatives. However, it is also an opportunity for invest- ments by actors involved in long-term ecosystem-based measures.

A growing population

The present global population of 7.8 billion people (October 2020) is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030. In combination with increasing global warming, diminishing arable land and declining food security this presents a true challenge.

The challenge not only include how to mitigate effects of climate change but also urbanization, various local conflicts and a limited availability of energy, natural resources and water.

A Global Market

OlsAro is offering a solution in a growing demand for food in a world with an increasing population and decreasing arable land due to climate change, bad management, and urbanization

A focus on adaptation of agriculture to climate change and to food se- curity is fortunately evident in recent international commitments. The Paris Agreement on global climate action showcased agriculture as a priority, where 94% of the countries included the agricultural sector as key for mitigation and/or adaptation. The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the UN World Food Programme reflects the central position agricul- ture holds in the response to climate change. Also, the G20 Ministers emphasize that there are a number of significant challenges that must be met if stable supplies of safe, nutritious, and affordable foods are to be provided. They therefore encourage innovations in technologies and practices that will make agriculture more resilient to water related risks such as drought, flooding, salinization, irrigation, and declining water quality, as well as to biotic stress caused by new pathogens thriving in the temperature rise caused by climate change.

According to a recent survey made by Inclusive Business Sweden to OlsAro and based on several criteria coupled to business opportunities, food security, political stability etc., seven countries were considered of extra interest for OlsAro (Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, Oman, Vietnam). Together they account for 21 Mha of saline soil, compared to ca 3,5 Mha in Europe.

In dark blue:
1. Argentina, 2. Bangladesh, 3. India, 4. Egypt, 5. Kenya, 6. Oman, 7.Vietnam

Together they account for 21 Mha of saline soil, compared to ca 3.5 Mha in Europe including our focus on the North Sea region.

In light blue: 
1. Norway, 2. Sweden, 3. Denmark, 4. Germany, 5. Belgien, 6. Netherlands, 7. UK



Starting with one region

The wheat’s trait in salt tolerance, has to be adapted for the regional conditions. OlsAro targets Bangladesh as a stepping stone for a commercially viable wheat.


The expansion is possible by marketing the salt tolerant seed in additional markets, primarily the big seven salinity-stricken countries (Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, Oman, Vietnam).

Development of other traits

The methodology of development can be used identifying other traits. OlsAro considers a wheat variety with higher content of protein as feasible, also meeting the food demand in a world with a growing population and decreasing arable land.