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Enabling and boosting crop diversification to support transitions towards more sustainable European agri-food systems

Messéan A., Viguier L., Paresys L., Aubertot J.N., Canali S., Iannetta P., Justes E., Karley A., Keillor B., Kemper L., Muel F., Pancino B., Stilmant D., Watson C., Willer H., Zornoza R.. 2021. Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering, 8 (3) : p. 474-480.

DOI: 10.15302/J-FASE-2021406

European cropping systems are often characterized by short rotations or even monocropping, leading to environmental issues such as soil degradation, water eutrophication, and air pollution including greenhouse gas emissions, that contribute to climate change and biodiversity loss. The use of diversification practices (i.e., intercropping, multiple cropping including cover cropping and rotation extension), may help enhance agrobiodiversity and deliver ecosystem services while developing new value chains. Despite its benefits, crop diversification is hindered by various technical, organizational, and institutional barriers along value chains (input industries, farms, trading and processing industries, retailers, and consumers) and within sociotechnical systems (policy, research, education, regulation and advisory). Six EU-funded research projects have joined forces to boost crop diversification by creating the European Crop Diversification Cluster (CDC). This Cluster aggregates research, innovation, commercial and citizen-focused partnerships to identify and remove barriers across the agrifood system and thus enables the uptake of diversification measures by all European value-chain stakeholders. The CDC will produce a typology of barriers, develop tools to accompany actors in their transition, harmonize the use of multicriteria assessment indicators, prepare policy recommendations and pave the way for a long-term network on crop diversification.

Mots-clés : système de culture; diversification; culture multiple; systèmes agroalimentaires; rotation culturale; politique agricole; agriculture durable; culture intercalaire; pays de l'union européenne

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