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Fork-to-farm agent-based simulation tool augmenting BIOdiversity in the agri-food VALUE chain

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BIOVALUE (Fork-to-farm agent-based simulation tool augmenting BIOdiversity in the agri-food VALUE chain)

Reporting period: 2021-10-01 to 2023-03-31

Crop biodiversity, the cultivation of multiple crops at the farm level is a crucial element of biodiversity in Europe’s agriculture and is related with several eco-problems in soil fauna, weeds, pests, and predators at the farm level and the agro-ecosystem. However, crop diversification over the last decades declined due to several driving forces across the food chain (processing technologies, cost impact) as well as consumers’ food preferences.
Therefore, biodiversity at crop level should be maintained and reinforced. Here comes the BIOVALUE project offering pertinent and seminal solution through a fork to farm approach. Hence, biodiversity form consumer’s food dish, to Agro-food supply chain, up to the farm is studied and potential innovative approaches would be suggested. Diverse food-dish to diverse crop cultivation will proliferate benefits to consumers’ health and to the whole ecosystem with huge effects upon mitigating climate change.
The project will offer guidelines on nutritional values of diversified dishes, meals and novel food products. In addition, new underutilized crops could be re-introduced into European farming by using machine learning techniques and artificial intelligence forecasts. These new entrants among others could be integrated into agro-ecosystems, the food chain and of course the European diet. Our ultimate vision within this project is to generate recurring and spreading effects such as landscape transformation, diverse food supply chains and mainly “diverse” food dishes. The whole look of the European plains will start changing from oligo-cultural systems to poly-cultural ones with unprecedented benefits for the environment and consumers’ health.
Summing up, within the first reporting period all planned deliverables have been successfully completed and submitted. In addition all milestones set within RP1 were met as well.

Thus, all the completed and submitted deliverables are at the disposal of the consortium to build upon as this work constitutes the basic background in terms of relative literature, current advantages in Agri-food value chain, and biodiversity throughout the value chain.

In addition, the underutilized/nonutilized crops for breeding and experimental use, have been all selected, multiplied by the responsible partners and finally distributed to the partners for experimental use cases. So this stage won't hinder a smooth implementation of the experiments.

Novel food dishes have been devised, described and prepared utilizing underutilized or non-utilized plants providing a diverse and healthy nutrition. Relative food dish recipes booklet has been made available to the general public.

Furthermore, in this RP the methodology and preliminary tests and product selection for all the studies on relations among biodiversity of food value chains have been completed.

State of the art tools have been used to create a high performing data warehouse for the data-intensive applications and AI models of the project.
Crop biodiversity, the cultivation of a multitude of crops at the farm level, is an element of agricultural biodiversity, and creates differentiations in soil fauna, weeds, pests, and predators at the farm level and agro-ecosystem. More importantly, crop biodiversity has been reported to increase agricultural productivity through the replenishment of agricultural soils and control of pest infestations, leading to greater farm income security and stability. However, crop diversification over the last decades declined due to several driving forces across the food chain (processing technologies, cost impact) as well as consumers’ food preferences. Therefore, crops (cereals, legumes, leafy vegetables and fruity vegetables) that can enrich biodiversity significantly are scarcely present in the agri-food value chain and in consumers’ food diets since they are no longer economically viable. However, there are often market failures due to the existence of externalities and the public-good nature of biodiversity conservation. In addition to market signals, farmers’ agrobiodiversity choices reflect a number of factors aside from market prices, including the social, political, and cultural conditions in which they operate. They are generally exogenous to the farmers’ own decisions, but are strongly influenced by policy at the national and international level.

The overall objective of the BIOVALUE project is to set-up a holistic approach to the analysis of the link among biodiversity, the agro-food value chain , the environment and consumer’s preferences and health by employing a bottom-up approach to optimize the introduction of underutilized/nonutilized genetically diverse crops in the agri-food value chain throughout Europe by explicitly analysing agent interactions and behaviour in the value chain and various future climatic and water availability scenarios and to spur a selfgrowing dynamic process of biodiversity by mobilising the market and social drivers.

BIOVALUE aims to introduce a holistic approach of studying biodiversity by advancing and combining Food-chain and production methodologies in a seminal and applicable way.
BIOVALUE builds a strong theoretical behavioural simulation model to assess how production and consumption decisions affect individual agents and the entire value chain and consequently how they can be altered towards a biodiverse agro-food chain.
BIOVALUE starts by setting up seven paired experimental case studies, permitting the collection of high-level field data, analyzing them and using them to strengthen biodiversity at farm level and throughout the Value chain.
Furthermore, testing of final novel processed food products and dish recipes on an international consumer base will provide data on consumers’ preferences and willingness-to -pay and consume diverse and healthy food dish.

The impact of biodiversity throughout the agro-food chain has been demonstrated to a large extent and the relation between biodiversity and health also was raised.
Farming activities will be improved by introducing under/non-utilized crops and raise the awareness at the farm level and consumption.
A holistic approach was established by connecting diet and biodiversity attracting the awareness of consumers on the issue of human-environment health interlinkages.
Combined advanced methods for studying agro-food supply chain will be developed which can use AI and Big data to study biodiversity enhancement.