Enabling crop diversification to support transitions towards more sustainable European agrifood systems.

Antoine Messean*, Loic Viguier, Lise Paresys, Jean-Noel Aubertot, Stefano Canali, Pietro PM Iannetta, Eric Justes, Alison Karley, Beatrix Keillor, Laura Kemper, Frederic Muel, Barbara Pancino, Didier Stilmant, CA Watson, Helga Willer, Raul Zornoza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
165 Downloads (Pure)


European cropping systems are often characterized by short rotations or even
monocropping, leading to environmental issues such as soil degradation, water
eutrophication, and air pollution including greenhouse gas emissions, that
contribute to climate change and biodiversity loss. The use of diversification
practices (i.e., intercropping, multiple cropping including cover cropping and
rotation extension), may help enhance agrobiodiversity and deliver ecosystem services while developing new value chains. Despite its benefits, crop
diversification is hindered by various technical, organizational, and institutional
barriers along value chains (input industries, farms, trading and processing
industries, retailers, and consumers) and within sociotechnical systems (policy,
research, education, regulation and advisory). Six EU-funded research projects
have joined forces to boost crop diversification by creating the European Crop
Diversification Cluster (CDC). This Cluster aggregates research, innovation,
commercial and citizen-focused partnerships to identify and remove barriers
across the agrifood system and thus enables the uptake of diversification
measures by all European value-chain stakeholders. The CDC will produce a
typology of barriers, develop tools to accompany actors in their transition,
harmonize the use of multicriteria assessment indicators, prepare policy
recommendations and pave the way for a long-term network on crop
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-480
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jul 2021
Publication statusFirst published - 13 Jul 2021


  • crop rotation, lock-in, intercropping, multiple cropping, networking
  • Lock-in
  • Networking
  • Crop rotation
  • Intercropping
  • Multiple cropping


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