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Diversification through Rotation, Intercropping, Multiple cropping, Promoted with Actors and value-Chains Towards Sustainability

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - DiverIMPACTS (Diversification through Rotation, Intercropping, Multiple cropping, Promoted with Actors and value-Chains Towards Sustainability)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2020-06-01 do 2021-05-31

European arable agricultural systems are often characterised by short rotations, or even monocultures, leading to problems such as higher pest pressure, soil erosion, and loss of soil fertility and biodiversity. Temporal and spatial diversification of crops (through rotation, intercropping and multiple cropping) is a key driver for resource-efficient farming systems that could contribute to:
• increasing the productivity and profitability of agricultural systems,
• reducing input use and negative environmental impacts, and
• providing better products to society.
However, despite its potential benefits, crop diversification is currently hindered by various technical, organisational and institutional barriers along the value chain. Therefore, crop diversification systems will only emerge if clear benefits to farmers and society are demonstrated, if the upstream and downstream value chains are fully engaged, and if the societal norms and structures and institutions are more disposed to support crop diversification.
DiverIMPACTS has the following scientific and technological objectives:
• To demonstrate clear benefits of crop diversification through a set of field experiments carried out in key biogeographical regions across Europe and through multi-actor case studies;
• To co-design technical and organisational innovations to stimulate crop diversification and co-learning, and adapt existing multi-criteria assessment methods to the needs of actors;
• To remove barriers and promote enablers to crop diversification at the farm, value-chain and local levels;
• To develop comprehensive and long-term strategies for the agricultural system at large (farming system, agro-industry, value-chain, research and development, education, advisory systems as well as policy and regulation) to sustain crop diversification.
- Analyses of scientific literature, results of 10 field experiments and 25 case studies have shown the potential benefits of crop diversification on productivity, environmental impacts as well as the delivery of ecosystem services, especially when diversification strategies (rotation, intercropping, multiple cropping) are combined. They also illustrate various trade-offs between performances;
- New results from case studies and field experiments during the third reporting period (3RP) confirm that risk of agronomic and economic failures exists if crop diversification is not adapted to local conditions and that adaptive management over time is required, especially in the context of climate change;
- 46 barriers to crop diversification have been identified across the 25 case studies and cover the whole value chain from farm to fork. A catalogue of solutions that may overcome them was published during 3RP (;
- Analysis of barriers about machinery at farm level and equipement along value chains demontrates that investment in adapted machinery, based on ecological principles, is important for the success of diversification (3RP);
- Several tools to help actors drive crop diversification are being developed, including multicriteria assessment tools at the field, farm and territory levels;
- A decision-support tool to help retrieve resources (data, tools) relevant to local user needs was released (3RP,;
- An indicator to estimate the impacts of crop diversification practices on ecosystem services provision aiming at helping policy-makers and advisors drive crop diversification was designed (3RP);
- A strategy for training and education of farmers, advisors and other actors has been developed (3RP);
- Collaboration within the European cluster on Crop Diversification ( intensified after the first European Conference on Crop Diversification, leading to joint dissemination actions through a joint website, a video, a flyer, a factsheet; a joint scientific letter has been published to address the international audience (3RP);
- Dissemination activities intensified towards all stakeholders with special attention paid to a non-academic audience: 6 additional webinars to stimulate learning on ‘practical’ topics and 2 newsletters to provide a thorough update of the results of the project (3RP,;
- A first series of 15 practice abstracts to disseminate practical solutions was published (3RP,;
- 18 videos showing a range of activities in the project (;
- The first two policy briefs to deliver key messages recommendations for overcoming barriers to crop diversification have been released (3RP,
1/ Multi-year and multi-site of the 10 field experiments starting (3RP) and should help set up a long-term network covering a large diversity of biogeographical regions;
2/ Identification of success and failure factors associated with a wide range of crop diversification experiences;
3/ Quantification of the direct and indirect impacts of crop diversification all along the value chain – from farm to fork – under a wide range of situations;
4/ Development of an open-access database gathering the characteristics and the performances of crop diversification strategies studied (3RP);
5/ Design of multi-criteria assessment tools to assess benefits and drawbacks brought by crop diversification in terms of technical and economic performances as well as social and environmental services;
6/ A practical toolbox to help actors access to those resources most appropriate to their local needs (3RP);
7/ Identification of logistic and contractual schemes as well as economic instruments to overcome current barriers (3RP);
8/ Specifications of machinery equipment that could help foster crop diversification at farm and value chain levels (3RP);
9/ An indicator to predict impact of diversified crop sequences on ecosystem services provided aiming at helping policy-makers and advisors drive crop diversification being designed (3RP);
10/ A catalogue of potential solutions to overcome barriers at farm and all along value chains to be consolidated to provide support to stakeholders (3RP);
11/ Development of a learning-for-innovation methodological platform to support actor-oriented research and development;
12/ A training and education strategy for farmers, advisors and teachers to enhance crop diversification (3RP);
13/ Implementation of a network of key actors and experts in agrifood systems as a basis for wider adoption of crop diversification beyond the project lifetime;
14/ Establishment of a framework for policy analysis and recommendations for tailored policy instruments to support crop diversified systems adoption through the publication of a series of policy briefs (two produced during 3RP).