• • • Improved crops can double European agriculture production
Ensuring sufficient food to feed the global population in 2050 requires a major rise in agricultural production – the equivalent of a yield growth of between 70% and 100%. Wageningen University & Research is working within the CropBooster-P EU project on a roadmap to make agricultural crops future-proof.
The project will develop a pathway to sustainably doubling Europe’s crop yields by 2050 and preparing these crops for the needs and the future climate of Europe. Wageningen University & Research is leading the initiative that involves 18 European partners, including Research Institutes and Universities, as well as the European Technology Platform ‘Plants for the Future’, the European Seed Association (ESA) and the European Plant Science Organisation (ESPO).
According to René Klein Lankhorst programme developer at Wageningen University & Research and coordinator of the CropBooster-P project, it is technically feasible to double the yield of European agriculture by 2050. “The current agricultural crops now convert a surprisingly low percentage of sunlight into plant biomass; some 0.5 to 1%. Doubling the percentage to 1 to 2% is all we need and this has already been scientifically proven to be possible. But there’s more involved than photosynthesis alone; the improved crops will also have to use water and minerals such as nitrogen and phosphorus very efficiently. Moreover, an increased yield should have no impact on quality and nutritional value. A great deal of additional research will be required to achieve this goal,” he said.