Enabling crop diversification to support transitions toward more sustainable European agrifood systems

Antoine Messéan*, Loïc Viguier, Lise Paresys, Jean Noël Aubertot, Stefano Canali, Pietro Iannetta, Eric Justes, Alison Karley, Beatrix Keillor, Laura Kemper, Frédéric Muel, Barbara Pancino, Didier Stilmant, Christine Watson, Helga Willer, Raúl Zornoza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-480
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Crop rotation
  • Intercropping
  • Lock-in
  • Multiple cropping
  • Networking


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