Project: Development of sustainable date palm-based agro systems by preserving their biodiversity

Acronym GreenPalm (Reference Number: 2019-SECTION2-15)
Project Topic Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) has long been one of the most important fruit crops for south Mediterranean countries, where dates are the main income source and staple food for some Mediterranean local populations. Tunisia and Algeria are two of the major Mediterranean date producers. However, this fruit crop is currently in danger due to several constraints, such as genetic erosion due to the predominance of the elite cultivar Deglet Noor in modern plantations, anthropogenic spread of disease and pests, and drastic climatic conditions (drought, temperature etc.). GreenPalm is focussed on endangered Mediterranean date palm-based agro-ecosystems, with the aim to provide a framework for date palm crop protection and conservation, combining ecological interactions between date palm trees pests, microbial communities driving diseases, and ecosystem functioning for enhancing date palm fruit products with high added value. GreenPalm associates complementary research teams, based in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Algeria and Tunisia. Special focus will be paid to: I. To make a screening of Phoenix dactilyfera varieties in southern Mediterranean basin in order to genetically describe the biodiversity of these endangered agro ecosystems. II. To study the palm tree rhizosphere and phyllosphere in order to develop and optimize pest and disease bio-control methods that contribute to agricultural sustainability, III. To obtain high value-added compounds useful as biocontrol agents and food ingredients to improve the socio-economic level of local population; IV. Transfer of knowledge generated in the project, by implementation of good farming practices that are easily applicable and economically viable in date palm production areas GreenPalm addresses the TOPIC 2.2.2 RIA "Use and management of biodiversity as a major lever of sustainability in farming systems". The challenges of this topic will be addressed by the selection of better date palm varieties adapted to climate change constrains and by studying soil microbial biodiversity for a better sustainability of date production, as well as studying integrated solutions for red weevil pest management (Challenge 1: Increase the resilience of Agro ecosystems). GreenPalm also addresses challenge 2 by the implementation of new date palm based products and by studying the impact of new agro-systems with higher value (Challenge 2: Give added value to the final/new product to increase the incomes of the farmers). GreenPalm will thus be deeply complementary of local, national and European initiatives aiming at the ecological intensification of sustainable agro-ecosystems in Mediterranean countries by protecting and valorizing the local biodiversity (Challenge 3).
Network PRIMA
Call Section 2 Call 2019 - Multi-topic

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 CSIC-Instituto de la Grasa Coordinator Spain
2 Universite Saad Dahlab Blida Partner Algeria
3 Institute for sustainable plant protection-CNR Partner Italy
4 University of Minho Partner Portugal
5 Faculty of Sciences University of Gabes Partner Tunisia