Towards a biological and climate resilient wine production
A new research project will reduce chemical input, prepare for climate changes and improve productivity in grapevine production. A development which is highly needed in order to adapt to future challenges.
Climate changes lead to higher temperatures, which have a significant impact on the European ecosystems. In the near future, climate changes will also affect yield, growth and food security in all regions, and also impact and increase plant resistance.
In order to face these challenges, we need to establish a new agricultural system, which is ready for the future. This is exactly what the interdisciplinary research project, VitiSmart, funded within the frame of FACCE SURPLUS, aims to do.
The project will focus on grapevine production; one of the world’s oldest and most important fruit crops, and of considerable economic value in many European countries. Climate changes increase the risk of grapevine being subjected to several microbial diseases. In order to counteract these grapevine diseases, farmers often rely heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, often leading to environmental problems.
The project partners will develop biological and environmentally friendly ways of defeating these grapevine diseases. Further, as the project consists of 16 partners from 9 different European countries belonging to different location and climate condition, the possibility for a fruitful output is higher.
- During the project we will, among other things, develop methods and tools for viticultural systems to characterize the grapevine resilience and identify resilient genotypes according to geographical zones. We also expect to release resilient microbial-inoculated grapevine plants that are more adapted to abiotic and biotic stresses, from nurseries to the field, says Professor Essaid Ait Barka who is the project leader of VitiSmart.
- In the end of the project, we hope to help the increase of the productivity in an environmentally sustainable manner by reducing agrochemical inputs and minimizing the economic and environmental costs of protection against grapevine diseases.
Partners in the 3-year VitiSmart-project include universities from France, Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany. The project has been granted 1,516,000 € from the FACCE SURPLUS ERA-NET Co-fund.
FACCE SURPLUS is an ERA-NET under the Co-fund scheme of Horizon 2020 of the European Union. FACCE SURPLUS calls for collaboration among 15 countries and the EU for transnational research projects on the thematic area of sustainable and resilient agriculture. Further joint activities that go beyond this co-funded call are planned, in order to contribute to the establishment of a renewable bioeconomy in the EU.
Professor Essaid Ait Barka
Reims University, France
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