Plants for the Future: sustainable and innovative agricultural systems

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“The report outlines the recommendations for research and innovation needed to support the transition towards more sustainable agricultural systems to meet the goals of the EU Green Deal and envisions how agriculture will likely transition in the short, medium and long term.”

03 December 2021, EU: A report by a multi-stakeholder working group of the European Technology Platform ‘Plants for the Future’, featuring contributions from James Hutton Institute scientists, has identified three principles that will help transition towards more environmentally and socio-economically sustainable agricultural systems.

The European Technology Platform ‘Plants for the Future’ (Plant ETP) was established to support the transition to more sustainable and innovative agricultural systems that remain within planetary boundaries.

To actively contribute to this transition, Plant ETP established a multi-stakeholder working group on Sustainable Agriculture, which consists of experts from academia, the seed and breeding industry, agricultural service providers, and the farming community.

The aim of this working group is to consider, from a plant sector perspective, the challenges, and opportunities of agricultural value chains in a holistic way, while developing a vision for future systems spanning food, feed, and biobased raw materials.

The working group identified three main and interdependent drivers that should be developed in parallel and which will enable the transition towards more environmentally and socio-economically sustainable agricultural systems:

  • Innovative agricultural produce will provide sustainable and healthy food, feed and biobased raw materials for the bioeconomy, meeting consumer needs and societal expectations.
  • Resilient production (eco)systems will provide sufficient qualitative, nutritious food, feed, and biobased raw materials for society, while promoting One Health.
  • Agricultural data will be harnessed to support agricultural systems by leveraging big dat and artificial intelligence to balance innovative agricultural produce and resilient production (eco)systems, matching produce with demand and enabling sustainable agricultural production through tailored advice.

Dr Roy Neilson, senior soil scientist at the James Hutton Institute and co-vice-chair of the Plants for the Future working group, said: “The report outlines the recommendations for research and innovation needed to support the transition towards more sustainable agricultural systems to meet the goals of the EU Green Deal and envisions how agriculture will likely transition in the short, medium and long term.

“The research is clearly aligned with the Institute’s vision and research, and there are several projects highlighted in the document that Hutton either lead or is a project partner. We look forward to engaging with stakeholders to deliver future agricultural sustainability.”

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