ReCROP: research project promoting agricultural sustainability in the Mediterranean region

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 17:21

Agricultural productivity in the Mediterranean region is seriously threatened by climate change, soil degradation and depletion of water resources. This scenario is compounded by inadequate agricultural management practices, including excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, overgrazing and overproduction in monoculture. It is within the scope of these challenges of intensive agriculture that ReCROP arises, coordinated by the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF) of Católica in Porto and co-financed by PRIMA - Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Region (Horizon 2020). The project is born from the intersection of agriculture and biotechnology, relying on the institution´s long-term experience in the search for biotechnological solutions based on nature and hidden biodiversity for soil regeneration.

Addressing technical and economic issues, the project will serve as a demonstration platform reaching out to farmers and a wider audience in order to promote the adoption of more sustainable farming practices that will overcome some of the most serious threats to Mediterranean farming systems.

Sofia Pereira, researcher and scientific coordinator of the project, states that “ReCROP aims to promote the sustainability and resilience of agricultural production systems in the Mediterranean region through the combined use of biotechnological tools, such as bioinoculants (mycorrhizal fungi and growth-promoting bacteria of plants) and sustainable agronomic practices, which include co-cultivation and crop rotation schemes, application of correctives, as well as the use of adapted and/or tolerant local varieties.

The project is coordinated by researchers Sofia Pereira and Helena Moreira and Paula Castro, and with the collaboration of Eduardo Cardoso and João Cortez.

ReCROP imagem
ReCROP imagem 2


Tackling climate change, improving biodiversity

ReCROP presents an integrated solution that will enable agricultural systems to address climate change by improving soil biodiversity and fertility and conserving water. It will also contribute to increasing crop yields while providing ecosystem services such as increased carbon sequestration, organic matter and nutrient recycling.

In this way, it is intended to respond to intensive agriculture that has a great impact on the loss of organic matter and soil biodiversity, while favoring its erosion, compaction and contamination.

The project covers the Mediterranean Geographic Area - Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain - and incorporates crops of high economic importance such as vine, cereals and aromatic and medicinal plants. Agricultural practices will be tested and monitored in different edaphoclimatic conditions (7 countries) – soils and climate -, including experimental plots in a climatic area with Atlantic influence (North of Portugal and Northwest of Spain) and others in drier and hotter regions in the North of Africa.

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