Salvadora persica L. (Meswak), a facultative halophyte which is a potential source for seed oil has been identified as a predominant species in highly saline habitats of coastal and inland black soils (ECe >30 dS/m). This species is a medicinal plant of great value and its bark contains resins and an alkaloid called Salvadoricine. The seeds are good source of non-edible oil rich in lauric (C12) and myrestic (C14) fatty acids having immense applications in soap and detergent industries. This species gives economic returns for the highly saline black soils with salinity values up to 50 dS m-1 , also provides eco-restoration through environmental greening and thus forms a niche for highly saline black soils. Planting of Salvadora persica would fetch about Rs. 7000/- per hectare. This species was found to grow and yield well on saline black soils having salinity up to 65 dS m-1 . Based on the studies conducted, the National bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Mumbai in association with the Station has developed a bankable model scheme for cultivation of Salvadora persica on salt-affected black soils for the restoration of highly saline soils through the project sponsored by NABARD. It is adopted by the farmers, NGOs and Govt. Institutions like Gujarat State Land Development Corporation (GSLDC) on a large scale in Gujarat. This species is useful in regreening of highly saline black soils that cannot be put under arable farming. Reduction in salinity by 4th year onwards that enables to take up intercropping with less tolerant crops/forages. Apart from this, the species provide a dwelling place for birds and enhances the environmental greening.
Acharya Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology 1