Sustainable food security - CROPDIVA

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27 partners and 11 countries
Coordinator: Prof Geert Haesaert

Faculty Bioscience engineering
Ghent university
Duration: 4 year

Project Description

Agrobiodiversity is a crucial prerequisite for ecologically and economically sustainable agricultural and food systems and is an important tool for ecological intensification of agricultural systems. However, agrobiodiversity is a complex concept that is the result of the interaction between the environment, genetic resources and management systems used by culturally diverse people. CROPDIVA will reinforce agrobiodiversity in European agricultural cropping systems on different levels and along distinct geographic and socio-economic areas resulting in resilient food and feed production systems. To realise the project objectives CROPDIVA will focus on (1) the promotion of six underutilised crops: oats, triticale, hull-less barley, narrow-leafed lupin, buckwheat and faba bean in various cropping systems and (2) on the creation of new value chains. The selected crops have unique features. Firstly, the six underutilised crops are characterised by a broad genepool, which serves as a reservoir for important traits related to e.g. resilience to (a)biotic stress as well as nutritional quality. This great genetic diversity ensures the development of climate resilient varieties. Secondly, the selected crops have great ecological benefits and advantages for a sustainable crop management system. For example, many of them produce nectar rich flowers and/or biologically fix nitrogen. Others result in early stubble, which allow to sowing cover/catch crops as a second crop or they mature early leading to a lower transpiration coefficient and less water use. Thirdly, these crops possess a high nutritious and food technological value, which create many possibilities to develop new food/feed and non-food products; a more diversified value chain will provide new market opportunities for the local food/feed and associated non-food industry and will provide opportunities for new innovative products tailored to the local demand.


The objectives of CROPDIVA are clustered around 3 topics:

  1. In-depth study and promotion of six key underutilised arable crops: oats, triticale, hull-less barley, narrow-leafed lupin, buckwheat and faba bean. This include exploration of the genetic diversity, elucidating arable systems of the selected crops in combination with regional relevant crops and crops with an ecological added-value (e.g. intercropping, cover crops, crops attractive to pollinators), enhancing agrobiodiversity and promoting ecosystem services.
  2. Creation of new value chains for developed food/feed and non-food products from the selected underutilised crops by the development of new food and non-food products, strengthen the producer-consumer link and investigation of consumer behaviour towards the developed food products and/or new ingredients based on the selected crops.
  3. Examination of the socio-economic impact and of the ecosystem services particularly with respect to the new and diversified cropping systems.

Role of Ghent University

  1. Geert Haesaert /UGent is Coordinator of project
  2. UGent is mainly involved in research activities on plant breeding and cropping systems (research group of Geert Haesaert) and in research activities related to consumer behavior and sensory acceptance (research group of Xavier Gellynck).


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Cropdiva 2.jpgProf. Geert Haesaert

Department Plants and Crops, faculty of Bioscience engineering

Phone number: +32 9 243 24 78