IntercropVALUES aims to exploit the benefits of intercropping to design and manage productive, diversified, resilient, profitable, environmentally friendly cropping systems acceptable to farmers and actors in the agri-food chain. As a multi-disciplinary and multi-actor project, it brings together scientists and local actors representing the food value chain. It includes 27 participants from 15 countries (3 continents) from a wide diversity of organizations and stakeholders.
IntercropVALUES will develop:
Scientific research to better understand and model the functioning of associated crops
Detailed analysis of the bottlenecks and levers at the sector level to identify credible solutions
The project in a nutshell
4 years (01/11/22 – 30/10/26)
8 million euros
13 case studies
They will cover a wide range of goals and will represent both conventional and organic farming, as well as short and long value chains
32 practice abstracts
Factsheets for broad dissemination to farmers and other actors
4 policy briefs
Targeting policy makers showing the link between the project outcome and main EU and country-level policies
Based on a strong multi-actor partnership and on relevant research organizations
Using a common protocol, to test the same hypothesis and ensure a meta-analysis based on a rigorous statistical methodology
Eric JUSTES (CIRAD)
Montpellier – Campus of Lavalette
The project objectives
Support the design of locally relevant, legitimate and innovative agrifood chains, through 13 Co-Innovation Case Studies (CICS).
Understand, through 15 meta-experiments, the functioning and interactions of intercropping to maximise productivity and the provision of ecosystem services (ES).
Generate knowledge, methods and tools for the management of associated crops and the evaluation of their performance and
Understand intercropping performance by modelling (simulation studies providing novel information).
To generate novel knowledge on the quality of grains harvested from cereal-legume intercrops in comparison with those of sole crops.
To uncover key barriers and levers at the value chain level to boost the transition towards intercropping practices throughout EU agriculture.
Communication is designed for a wide dissemination of results (farmers, advisors, processing and equipment companies, citizens, academia, policy makers…).
Developing Intercropping for agrifood Value chains and Ecosystem Services delivery in Europe and Southern countries
The project structure
IntercropVALUES is divided in eight Work Packages (WP):
This team aims to meet contextualized value chain goals to ensure sustainable agroecological transitions while analyzing and monitoring coupled innovation processes through iterative actions and learnings within and between 13 Co-Innovation Case Studies (CICS).
This work package will assess yield performance and yield stability of intercrops vs. sole crops and identify determining pedo-climatic conditions as key factors, which explain results and performance variation under local conditions. They also evaluate the efficiency of abiotic resource use and determining factors of grain nutrient composition. Finally, they will also evaluate the Ecosystem Services delivered by intercropping in terms of weed, pest and disease control, and associated reduction of yield gaps or reduction of pesticide use.
Transitions toward sustainable agriculture rely on practitioners acquiring knowledge and know-how to manage and evaluate new practices of intercropping. This WP aims to produce and deliver more widespread, original, and relevant practical knowledge on the management and assessment of practices at different levels of the cropping system. This could foster the development of intercrops by delivering knowledge on 1) Ecosystem services in cropping sequences; 2) Indicators for managing and assessing intercrops at annual and cropping systems levels; 3) Innovative machinery designed or adapted by farmers in their context and uses.
This team will use models to estimate the performance of intercrops for specific field designs and conditions. With such information, trade-offs between performance optimization and farm management can be analysed. They will perform in silico explorations with different species, genotypes, designs, and environments to quantify interactions between crops, ecosystem services, and disservices, and to find optimal field designs and ideotype combinations.
WP5 will characterize the quality of grains harvested from cereal-legume intercrops in comparison with those obtained from sole crops, in various pedoclimatic conditions, with or without N fertilization and pesticide use, and analyze the impact of modalities on some processing operations and possible product innovations. Different quality characteristics will be considered: sanitary quality, macro and micronutrient composition, and functional qualities for food processing.
This team aims to uncover the key lock-ins and potential levers, at the food system level, to transition towards intercropping practices and provide a set of potential market avenues for products resulting from intercropping practices across several European countries and Southern countries.
Responsible of the dissemination about intercropping among the general population; it transfers the knowledge acquired during the project to the various value chain groups and to consumers, through digital tools adapted to each group according to their knowledge, interest, language, and usual media source. It also strengths the communication between value chain actors involved in the project and jointly identify the most appropriate exploitation routes and strategies for the results.
Ensures the proper management of data, taking into account the large amount of data, centralize management of data coming from the project and shared by the partners. This team also ensures proper management of all the gender and ethics aspects; and the implementation of the project according to work plan, Grant Agreement (G.A.), and Consortium Agreement (C.A.), and all financial aspects.