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Are conservation, development of biodiversity and sustainable farming

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Presentation on theme: "Are conservation, development of biodiversity and sustainable farming"— Presentation transcript:

1 Are conservation, development of biodiversity and sustainable farming
goals for research? Seeds for a sustainable future 31 May 2011 Thank you for invitation to important event which will gather over the next 3days representatives and actors from the entire crop production value chain. Scope of the conference and exhibition is impressive and reflects the complexity and diversity of agriculture across Europe and globally. Sébastien Crepieux European Commission Directorate-General Research and Innovation Project Officer, Unit E4 : Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Aquacualture

2 Crop production in Europe
40 % (172 m ha) of the EU’s land area is farmed. Utilised agricultural area: 60 % arable land 33% permanent grasslands 6% permanent crops Annual agricultural output worth €360 billion 58% from crop products 42% from animal products 13.7 m agricultural holdings: 40% crop farming, 22% livestock 38% mixed-farming Arable land, in agricultural statistics, is land worked (ploughed or tilled) regularly, generally under a system of crop rotation. Permanent crops are ligneous crops not grown in rotation, but occupying the soil and yielding harvests for several (usually more than five) consecutive years. Permanent crops mainly consist of fruit and berry trees, bushes, vines and olive trees. Permanent grassland and meadow is land used permanently (for several, usually more than five, consecutive years) to grow herbaceous forage crops, through cultivation (sown) or naturally (self-seeded); not included in the crop rotation scheme on the agricultural holding. Important effects on landscape and environemt (e.g. on biodiversity, soil fertolty and water qualty Diverse patterns of crop production across Europe. Agricultural activities impact significantly on environment, economy and social cohesion, not just in rural areas. * Figures from EUROSTAT 2007

3 Challenges to current agriculture
Main global drivers for change and associated challenges Population growth + changing consumption patterns  Food production to be increased by 70% by 2050 FOOD SECURITY Increased environmental instability / climate change effects DIVERSIFICATION, INCREASED RESILIENCE OF FARMING SYSTEMS Diminishing finite resources (e.g. soil, water, nutrients, energy) RESOURCE EFFICIENCY, LOW INPUT PRODUCTION Competing demands for land use, e.g. through increased non-food production and urbanisation SUSTAINABLE LAND USE MANAGEMENT, MULTIPLE USES OF AGRICULTURAL (BY)-PRODUCTS INNOVATION (biological, technological, management) AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH FOR A SUSTAINABLE BIOECONOMY

4 European support to foster agricultural research
and the overall bioeconomy sector 10 Themes of the Cooperation Programme 32,4 Frontier Research Collaborative Research ERC €7.460m Human Potential Infrastructures Research Capacity €4.217m Total Specific Programmes: Total 53 billion € FP7 : Theme 2 : Around 300 m€ / year

5 Theme 2 - Structure Knowledge/Discovery Translation
KBBE - Activity 2.1 Sustainable food production and management of biological resources from land, forest and aquatic environments Knowledge/Discovery Translation Application/Innovation Policy development KBBE - Activity 2.2 “Fork to farm”: Food, health and well being E KBBE - Activity 2.3 Life sciences, biotechnology and biochemistry for sustainable non-food products and processes

6 http://cordis.europa.eu/ fp7/kbbe/home_en.html

7 Are conservation, development of biodiversity and sustainable farming goals for research?
Some examples

8 Plant research in FP7 KBBE programme Outcome from calls 2007 – 2011
Within first 5 calls for proposals : 55 projects (covering sustainable plant production systems) 180m€ EU contribution Some funded projects: - (1) Biodiversity, low input farming, plant genetic resources - (2) Breeding and use of genetic resources - (3) Sustainable plant production

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11 PGR Secure project (website under development)
The project aims at improving the conservation and use of European Crop Wild Relatives (CWR). To this end, it will investigate and test novel genotypic and phenotypic characterisation techniques, develop exemplar national and European CWR inventories and conservation strategies and facilitate breeders' access to CWR genetic resources. Consortium: 9 acad. / 1 private partners Coord: Birmingham Univ. N. Maxted Genera: Avena, Beta, Brassica Medicago EU-funding: 3M€ /3,5 years Start: Feb. 2011

12 Use in pre-breeding - breeding programs
(2) Breeding, conservation and use of genetic diversity There is not a single project on breeding that does not emphasize the role and importance of genetic resources Genetic resources : Conservation, description, use… Direct use low input farming, organic Use in pre-breeding - breeding programs Discover new alleles Private and public breeding programmes Validation of genes / effects Ex: DROPS ADAPTAWHEAT ABSTRESS Release and registration of new varieties (conventional breeding)

13 (3) Sustainable plant production:
Legume Futures: “Legumes: key multifunctional legume crops for an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly future European agriculture” reintroduce legumes in rotation for their multiple benefits (www.legumefutures.eu) Multisward: “Multifunctional grasslands for sustainable and competitive ruminant production systems and the delivery of ecosystem services” Promote the sustainable and beneficial use of swards in European farming – roles, utility and expectations (www.multiswards.eu) Cover Crops: “Development of cover crop and mulch systems for sustainable crop production” The introduction of cover crops, catch crops and (living) mulch into cropping systems is known to have beneficial effects in particular on soil improvement (e.g. organic matter and soil structure, nitrogen production, soil microbial activity…), pest management and weed suppression (…) (+ many others, including WP2012 : Managing semi-natural habitats and on-farm biodiversity to optimise ecological services …  Balanced approach : Competitivity and production but with the sustainability criteria

14 Final comments Are conservation, development of biodiversity and sustainable farming goals for research? Clearly yes ! Genetic diversity is a driver for sustainability of agricultural systems and food security Strategies for agricultural genetic resources need to consider Genetic diversity at various levels (plant - crop - agro-ecosystem) Measures for in-situ and ex-situ conservation The use : understand the evolution of diversity, molecular basis and variability of relevant traits to develop tools for pre-breeding and breeding activities (MAS). The release of performing varieties is one of the key issue to allow sufficient food production with the less arable land used (in Europe and in the world). Strong link with all stakeholders need to be ensured – conservationists, farmers, research, public and private breeding… But seeds/genetic resources are only a part of the agriculture sustainability equation : cannot miss the production, the cropping system, the agronomic techniques, the use of resources…

15 Sources of information
FP7/Theme 2: EU AGRINET Research portal: DG RTD: DG AGRI: Europe 2020: Innovation Union communication:

16 Thank you for your attention!
Contacts , Project Officer Plant Breeding and Agronomy, Unit E4 Head of Unit E.4 Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Aquacualture Directorate E Biotechnologies, Agricuture, Food


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