Soil biodiversity enhancement in European agroecosystems to promote their stability and resilience by external inputs reduction and crop performance increase.
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The UP4HEALTH project provides the demonstration at pre-industrial scale of an INTEGRATED BIOREFINERY for the recovery of valuable biomolecules from food processing by-products (grape pomace, Olive pomace and olive stones and nuts by-products) and their conversion into natural, healthy and sustainable high added-value products for the NUTRACEUTICALSand COSMETICsectors. UP4HEALTH ingredients will meet market requirements of CONSUMERS and INDUSTRY in these sectors. In UP4HEALTH the recovery of the value of food by-products will tackle objectives at private and institutional perspectives to solve industrial, economic and social problems derived from the generation of residual streams in the food processing industry and the increasing demand for natural and healthier products by consumers and industry in a scenary of limited resources
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WildMAPsFiT supports the development of sustainable management strategies of wild harvests and easy-to-use post-harvest handling practices for various indigenous medicinal and aromatic plant species at local and regional food systems. It aims to create an innovative curriculum of medicinal and aromatic plants' cultivation, harvesting, processing, storage, and marketing for local farmers, wild herb collectors and rural entreprenuers.
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Horizon 2020 VIRTIGATION project

Viral diseases are not only affecting European fields and greenhouses: across the globe, from Morocco, Israel to India, tomatoes and cucurbits are vital staple crops that are under threat. Colossal losses in harvests have been reported, ranging from 15% to entire crop destruction. As the world needs to increase its food production by at least half by 2050 to feed a growing population, mitigating the devastating impact of plant diseases is essential to ensure sufficient food supply, both in quantity and quality. In response to this global threat, VIRTIGATION – Emerging viral diseases in tomatoes and cucurbits: implementation of mitigation strategies for durable disease management -, is a Horizon 2020 project on a mission to protect tomatoes and cucurbits in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. In collaboration with partners from key EU neighboring areas and trade partners across the globe – Morocco, Israel and India – VIRTIGATION will develop short-, medium- and long-term solutions to the emerging viral diseases caused by begomoviruses (whitefly-transmitted) and tobamoviruses (mechanically transmitted) on tomato and cucurbit crops. The VIRTIGATION project will further increase the know-how for better control and management of these viral diseases in the entire tomato and cucurbit value chain, thanks to its multi-actor approach anchored in co-creation and co-design. VIRTIGATION is running for 4 years (June 2021 – May 2025) and is coordinated by the Laboratory for Tropical Crop Improvement at the Department of Biosystems of KU Leuven (Belgium).
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SUSFERT – Developing multifunctional fertilisers for phosphorus and iron supply

Agriculture heavily depends on the use of non-renewable, resource-intense fertilisers to meet the ever rising demand for food and feed. Ninety per cent of phosphorus, which is the major component of fertiliser, is mined abroad and imported into the EU. Phosphorus has been identified as a critical, unsustainable resource that drives the need to find alternative sources of the mineral from waste streams. The Horizon 2020/BBI JU funded project SUSFERT is developing new bio-based fertilisers to reduce dependency on unsustainable phosphorus imports into the EU. These fertilisers include novel controlled-release coatings from lignin as well as lignosulfonate-based soil improvers originating from wood pulp. Waste side-streams, such as renewable struvite, is utilised to substitute imported phosphorus. The loss of nutrients from fertilisers in agriculture are being addressed by using probiotics to increase nutrient availability as the demand for sustainable food production rises.
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The System of Rice Intensification: SRI-2030

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a cost-effective, available solution for farmers and their nations to manage land and water resources while addressing social, climate, and food security issues. SRI is a proven set of eco-friendly agroecological crop management principles demonstrated to raise rice production by 25–50%, and even up to 100% or more, while lowering production costs and raising farmer incomes. Seed requirements are reduced by 80-90% and water by between 30-50%. Notably, SRI practices are beneficial for the climate, as methane emissions are reduced by up to 70%; and overall net greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 50% or more per kilogram of rice produced. SRI crops are more resilient to climate hazards such as drought, storms, and pests. Importantly, SRI is accessible to low-income households as no external inputs are required, meaning SRI is a highly cost-effective solution and triple-win for rural households, their country, and the planet together. SRI was identified by Project Drawdown as a leading solution to the climate crisis, requiring only a change in mindsets, not materials. SRI-2030 is an initiative working to achieve Drawdown’s goal of 50 million hectares by a more ambitious target of 2030 for accelerated and amplified results.
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