Project: Innovative agroecological APProaches to achieving resilience to climate CHANGE in Mediterranean countries

Duration 01/06/2021 - 31/05/2024
Project Topic The overall objective of the CHANGE-UP project is to re-design innovative farming systems for the Mediterranean area more resilient to climate change and able to face and overcome adverse and unpredictable events while ensuring food security and sustainable farmers’ income. The capacity of crops to counteract climatic perturbations and to adapt to the changing conditions in the Mediterranean area is needed to ensure production stability over time, as well as the nutritional quality of the agricultural products. At the same time crops and farming systems should allow a more sustainable and efficient use of natural resources thus preserving the agro-ecosystems integrity. To this aim, CHANGE-UP will test a technological strategy based on the integration of Evolutionary Populations of cereals (EPs – barley, common wheat, durum wheat, triticale) under crop rotation with a range of leguminous plants and of New Perennial Grains (NPGs, perennial wheat lines). NPGs are new species obtained by hybridization and/or domestication holding great potential in ameliorating soil physical-chemical properties, biodiversity and food web composition. The longer growing season of NPGs, their more extensive root systems, and the permanent soil cover, make them more competitive against weeds and more effective at capturing nutrients and water. In addition, they protect soil against erosion and increase soil C storage. Cereal EPs possess a high degree of within crop genetic diversity (heterogeneity), thus holding an inherent higher buffering capacity than homogeneous varieties to adapt to various abiotic and biotic stresses. EPs are able to produce good and stable yields even when the availability of resources decreases or when climatic conditions become extreme. The project specific objectives are: 1) To comparatively assess the benefits of integrating such innovative cropping systems through the assessment of: i) their agronomic performance in relevant Mediterranean vulnerable environments; ii) safety and quality of the agricultural commodities produced; iii) economic and social benefits for farmers and consumers; iv) environmental impacts; 2) To share knowledge among stakeholders and facilitate collective decisions through participatory processes, in particular: i) improving the knowledge on the technical and organizational dynamics of Mediterranean production systems; ii) developing knowledge-based guidelines useful for policy decisions in terms of local governance and to overcome technical barriers to the adoption of the proposed innovations by farmers Overall, the adoption of EPs, combined with good farming practices (i.e. crop rotation with legumes), and of NPGs effectively addresses the complex of challenges imposed by climate change, since these systems together combine adaptation and mitigation strategies to the impacts of both long and short-term climate changes. Moreover, thanks to the reduction of agrochemical use and increased soil fertility, the introduction of this technological strategy has the potential of enhancing agricultural production and quality over time and facilitating the preservation of farm household and farming activity in rural areas. CHANGE-UP will ensure that the integration of such systems is effective not only from the technical, but also from the economic and social viewpoints, studying their impact on the food security of small farming households. A socio-economic analysis will identify and assess specific value chain policies aimed to introduce such innovations in the standard agricultural practices. The cooperation of the research entities with different stakeholders (farmers, policy makers, associations, food producers, researchers etc. from the participating countries) from the beginning of the project by the establishment of stakeholder groups in each partner country will be fundamental to ensure the efficacy of the new cropping systems and for developing local, context-specific and adoptable solutions.
Website visit project website
Network PRIMA
Call Section 2 Call 2020 - Multi-topic

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Parma Coordinator Italy
2 Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria Partner Italy
3 Institute National De La Recherche Agronomique D'Algeria Partner Algeria
4 French National Center for Scientific Research Partner France
5 The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development Partner France
7 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisia Partner Tunisia