Biotechnology; Participatory research; Technology innovation; Rural development; Sustainable ressource management; Soil fertility
Meddich Abdelilah, Oufdou Khalid, Boutasknit Abderrahim, Raklami Anas, Tahiri Abdelilah, Ben-Laouane Raja, Ait-El-Mokhtar Mohamed, Anli Mohamed, Mitsui Toshiaki, Wahbi Said, Baslam Marouane (2020), Use of organic and biological fertilizers as strategies to improve crop biomass and yields and physicochemical parameters of soil, in Yadav G.S., Lal R., Das A., Meena R.S. (ed.), Springer Singapore, Singapore, 247.
El Kinany S., Achbani E., Faggroud M., Ouahmane L., El Hilali R., Haggoud A., Bouamri R. (2019), Effect of organic fertilizer and commercial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on the growth of micropropagated date palm cv. Feggouss, in Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences
, 18(4), 411-417.
Date palm is an important crop in Morocco, Tunisia and many other drylands of the world with a high agricultural, economic and cultural value. The harsh environmental conditions of those areas, which are further accelerated by climate change and the spread of root diseases, are threatening date palm propagation and cultivation. As a consequence two third of all date palms were destroyed in Morocco during the last decades, causing substantial economic and ecological damages. To overcome the growth limitations, nowadays date palm production and cultivation regularly involves high inputs of mineral fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation. However, these high external inputs strongly impact the environment and livelihoods. The project aims at establishing a novel organic bio-fertilizer technology, combining the application of native beneficial soil microorganisms during tissue culture and field propagation of date palms, together with adapted agricultural management practices using organic amendments and intercropping with leguminous nitrogen fixing crops. As bio-fertilizers, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are in focus. A culture collection of native AMF and PGPR, isolated from date palm roots and rhizosphere, will be established, and strains selected for date palm growth promotion, nutrient acquisition and pathogen suppression will subsequently be used as bio-fertilizers. Customized propagation and application techniques of bio-fertilizers will be elaborated such as modern in-vitro methods suitable for tissue culture laboratories and low-tech, knowledge-rich approaches for smallholder farmers. The technology, integrating the use of organic amendments and leguminous intercrops, will be developed in a participatory approach, working at laboratory, on-station and on-farm scale. As part of an innovation platform, aims and problems of date palm producers (tissue culture laboratories, smallholder farmers and farmer’s organisations) will be targeted in order to align them with the research process. Gained knowledge on technical and methodological innovations will be disseminated to a broader circle of stakeholders including regional and national agricultural agencies in order to influence their operational procedures. The proposed organic bio-fertilizer technology will contribute to more sustainable, resilient agriculture, safeguarding natural resources. It will help to maintain and increase date palm production, and to counteract the on-going land degradation and desertification of dryland soils. Thereby rural livelihoods will be improved, and poverty-driven migration to urban centres will decrease. It is anticipated that the knowledge gained in this project in Morocco and Tunisia can be transferred to other areas where date palm represents a major crop.