Oats, hulless barley for human consumption, triticale, buckwheat, faba beans and lupins: These crops should in the future grow more often in the fields. That is the goal of the Horizon 2020 project CROPDIVA. 27 European partners from 12 countries joined forces to enhance agrobiodiversity in Europe. They will achieve this by focusing on crop diversity and creating local value chains.
At the end of 2020, the European Commission approved the CROPDIVA project as part of the Horizon 2020 Programme. The project is realized through a collaboration of experts from 12 countries, 27 different universities, companies and organizations. Ghent University is the coordinator of this ambitious project, which officially started on September 1st, 2021. The pre-breeding research activities for all six underused crops are coordinated by the Julius-Kühn-Institute (JKI). At the northeastern location of the Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants in Sanitz (Gross Luesewitz) mixed-cropping trials will be carried out. In addition, a JKI food chemist will look into the plant genetic resources of sweet lupines in search of lines with a low content of quinolizidine alkaloids.
The CROPDIVA concept has an innovative and challenging approach. The project activities will focus on (1) improving the resilience of cultivation systems, (2) aligning the economic and social needs of farmers with ecological targets, and (3) marketing of new food/non-food products that meet the needs of consumers.
All selected crops have a very broad genetic background that can be used to cross in important characteristics relating to factors such as resilience to stress and an improved nutritional value. Moreover, these crops have major ecological benefits. Many of them produce nectar-rich flowers or fix air nitrogen, for example. This will lead to highly resilient agroecosystems with greater adaptability to climate change, a better use of genetic resources, and greater food diversity.
Biodiversity management at all levels: The results of CROPDIVA will not end up in a dusty pile of paperwork somewhere, but will be used for innovative solutions in the whole chain to facilitate biodiversity management at all levels. Persons who would like to be kept informed on the work of the CROPDIVA project may subscribe to a newsletter via this homepage https://mailchi.mp/e6802a678a05/cropdiva#header
Disclaimer: This project CROPDIVA has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101000847. The opinions expressed in this document reflect only the author’s view and reflects in no way the European Commission’s opinions. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.