Publications

Designing the crops for the future; the cropbooster program

Harbinson, Jeremy; Parry, Martin A.J.; Davies, Jeβ; Rolland, Norbert; Loreto, Francesco; Wilhelm, Ralf; Metzlaff, Karin; Lankhorst, René Klein

Summary

The realization of the full objectives of international policies targeting global food security and climate change mitigation, including the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement COP21 and the European Green Deal, requires that we (i) sustainably increase the yield, nutritional quality and biodiversity of major crop species, (ii) select climate-ready crops that are adapted to future weather dynamic and (iii) increase the resource use efficiency of crops for sustainably preserving natural resources. Ultimately, the grand challenge to be met by agriculture is to sustainably provide acceβ to sufficient, nutritious and diverse food to a worldwide growing population, and to support the circular bio-based economy. Future-proofing our crops is an urgent iβue and a challenging goal, involving a diversity of crop species in differing agricultural regimes and under multiple environmental drivers, providing versatile crop-breeding solutions within wider socio-economic-ecological systems. This goal can only be realized by a large-scale, international research cooperation. We call for international action and propose a pan-European research initiative, the CropBooster Program, to mobilize the European plant research community and interconnect it with the interdisciplinary expertise neceβary to face the challenge.