Floating gardens of the sea

Agrisea, Canada 1 minute read

Agrisea, a Canadian startup, has developed a way to grow crops in high salt conditions, such as salt soils or coastal ocean waters.

Half of the world's population relies on rice as a daily staple food, making it one of the most important crops in the world. Rice, however is among the most water-intensive crops, using almost 25% of available global freshwater. At the same time, there is pressure to produce more food on the same amount – or less – of today’s existing land. To address this conundrum, Agrisea uses a gene-editing technique to enable rice to survive in ocean environments, using no land or freshwater at all. The process amplifies the efficacy of salt-tolerant genes already found in rice. This form of gene-editing avoids the transfer of genes from different species, a concern of those opposed to such technologies. The result is salt-tolerant rice that grows on floating ocean farms, requiring no soil, fertilizers, or freshwater. According to Agrisea, their farms are designed with spatial optimization in mind. The ocean platforms mitigate wave motion and the plant roots are positioned to absorb the necessary nutrients directly from the surrounding saltwater. The startup aims to launch small pilot farms by the end of 2021. Full-scale production of salt-tolerant rice and floating farms will hopefully start in 2022, says Agrisea.


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Topics covered

Agriculture Oceans