Sustainable Crop Production
Need for improved crop quality and yield with resource-use efficient practices
Currently, the global production of crops requires excessive amounts of water, pesticides, chemicals and energy. New ways of sustainable crop production have to be explored in order to increase productivity and to improve the quality of crops whilst simultaneously reducing the use of chemicals. Moreover, it is important that sustainability aspects cover the whole food value chain and address topics including (but not limited to) crop diversity and resilience, resource use efficiency, nutrient recycling, ecosystem services, minimal environmental impacts, integrated pest management, reduction and re-use of waste, and achievement of food and nutritional security. Only by securing and enhancing sustainable crop production food and nutrient security for a growing population under climate change can be ensured.
Transnational research on sustainable crop production
To address this global challenge, 34 partners from EU Member States, EU-associated States and Third countries with significant experience in research funding and coordination come together in SusCrop, an ERA-NET Cofund Action under H2020 with a total indicative funding of 17.2 million euros. SusCrop addresses the core research theme 2 “Environmentally sustainable intensification of agricultural systems” of the FACCE-JPI Strategic Research Agenda, and it aims to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) in the field of Sustainable Crop Production through enhanced cooperation and coordination of different national and regional research programmes.
The expected impact of the ERA-Net cofund is to contribute to developing cropping systems with improved performance in terms of reduced environmental impacts, resource-use efficiency and product quality. This will help the farming sector adapt to changes expected to result e.g. from emerging resource scarcity, environmental variation, demography, consumer preferences, and global trade.
The SusCrop network held is first kick-off meeting in Berlin in Germany in 2018. The first trans-national co-funded Call led to the selection of 13 consortia that are to receive funding from the European Commission. The research projects had their kick-off meeting on the 9th of September 2019 at ILVO in Belgium which was followed by two workshops, one on sustainability and resilience assessment, and one on data harmonisation.