Salt Stress and its Impact on Crop Productivity in Pakistan

One of the major environmental problems in Pakistan related to plants and crops is salt stress it also affects the salt processing plant in Pakistan. As plants are sessile, they have to adapt and grow by staying in the same place. They can’t move because of toxicity in the soil. The result is compromised and affected crops. We offer to refer to the term salinity which is the over-accumulation of salts that results in affecting the crops negatively. 

There are three categories; saline, sodic, and saline sodic. Alkali was the word first formulated for sodic soils. Here are further details that you might want to know.

Decreased Production Globally

The production of crops and agriculture is affected by the salinity due to salt in the soil. This is so because the salt levels are toxic and hazardous for the plant. The irrigated land affected by soil salinity is almost 20 % of the whole world. In the next 20 years, this ratio will increase and get triple.

Salinity Situation in Pakistan

There are almost 800 million Rs and 28.5 million $ worth of losses in crops in Pakistan due to salinity. Because of this, the total economical losses are estimated to be 300 million$ in this year alone. In the moderately saline areas of Pakistan, there are about 65 % of yield losses. 

Why is there a need for the improvement of Salt  production in Pakistan

Through the green revolution, grain productivity has reached the ceiling, but the world’s population is growing more and more. That’s why there is a need to improve the food crops yield in every type of soil which has salt stress.

Indication of Affected Areas with Salinity

There are certain symptoms that you will see on the ground that will tell if the soil has salinity or not. Here are some of the symptoms.

  • Whitish crust on the peaks is a major symptom of salinity in the soil.

To compare the salinity levels, the solubility of calcium sulfate (gypsum) can be used as a standard. If the salt is considered more soluble than gypsum then it is considered to be the cause of salinity.

How to Lower the Production?

The high alkalinity and toxicity of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate including other ions damage the soil and affect the growth of plants negatively. They impair the metabolism and nutrition of the plant. If a soil’s clay’s 15 % is occupied by sodium, then it will restrict the growth of roots and also makes the till age difficult. When these soils dry, the sodium-clay particles settle into dense layers that are impenetrable to plant roots hence limiting the emergence of seedlings.

High electrical conductivity and salinity of soil is the reason behind plants getting dehydration. It also reduces the growth of the plant and then eventually at a point, the plant dies. 

High salt concentration affects crop growth in three different ways;

  1. The osmotic potential of the soil is decreased and the soil sol decreases the water creating stress in the plants. 
  2. As Na+ is not sequestered in vacuoles, it causes severe ion toxicity.

3. The nutrient imbalance also occurs because of the salt-to-nutrient interaction which can lead to various deficiencies.

Effects of Salinity on Living Standards

This is a significant problem that affects many families in various aspects like housing, health, education, and income of the people. That is why there needs to be an approach that can solve this agricultural problem. According to a survey, in central Punjab, wide variations in the living standard and social status of the households of affected and non-affected areas by salinity.

For instance, about 56 percent of males and 91 percent of females were illiterate in salt-affected villages, compared to 51 percent and 77 percent in the unaffected villages.’

Practices to Manage and Implement

  • Management of saline soil includes careful designing of irrigation systems and use of less saline water, selection of salinity-tolerant plant species, flushing salts from soil surface during germination, and early seedling growth to encourage survival. 
  • The reduction in evaporative discharge by maintaining soil tilth and using mulches to reduce evapotranspiration, salt accumulation, and sub-surface drainage (where feasible) to lower high saline water tables or flush field surfaces of salts is also included. Excess irrigation should be avoided until there is a danger of flooding to that could leach the salts while frequent light irrigations help keep salts dilute. 
  • Use of plants that are drought tolerant is a wise decision. Disrupting the clay pattern and pans results in the reduction of soil compaction. 
  • When the absorbed sodium is replaced with calcium, the sodic soils get improved. The only catch is that this is an expensive procedure and many tons of gypsum are required per acre to convert part of the caustic alkali carbonates into sulfates. The soil should be damp and moist in order to catalyze the reaction when gypsum is cultivated on the top layer of the soil. 
  • The salt of the high saline soil can be removed by a method of leaching the soil with water. 6, 12 and 24 inches of water will reduce salinity levels by about 50 percent, 80 percent, and 90 percent, respectively salt brands in pakistan


. The application method of water is the most important part. Internal drainage is imperative and may require deep tillage to break up any restrictive layer impeding water movement. Sprinkler irrigation systems generally allow better control of water application rates. 

  • You can also use a flood irrigation system if the site to be applied is leveled and the water application is controlled.  Soil samples should be taken after leaching the site to determine whether the salinity level is suitable for planting. After that, the land can be irrigated and you can get rid of some quantity of the sodium sulfate which was formed in the chemical reaction.

Wrapping It Up!

In closing, we shouldn’t take the soil salinity matter easy as it does affect the lives of many negatively. General practices to reduce them should be encouraged which are all mentioned above. All the information that you needed is mentioned below.