Our colleagues Christine Watson from Scotland’s Rural College and Severin Hatt from the University of Bonn participated last 29th of November 2023 in the first meeting of the Focus Group on “Crop associations including Milpa and protein crops” that took place in Vienna, Austria, organised by the EU Cap Network.

The overall question that gathered them in Vienna was: How to integrate crop associations into existing cropping systems and farm landscapes to increase farm resilience and efficient use of natural resources while reducing the dependency on external inputs?

Ideas were traded between the experts on the different types of #cropassociations such as Intercropping & relay cropping; compagnion crop & Milpa; agroforestry & cover crops; strip cropping & nurse cropping.

The 20 experts got together to discuss, among others, barriers to the adoption of crop associations, such as the lack of knowledge and advice and market acceptance. Opportunities were also shared, such as the consideration of crop associations as a tool for enhancing farm resilience and diversifying the production system.

They had the opportunity to put together ideas for future “Mini Papers”: mechanisation, value chain, breeding, and how to integrate crop associations into farming systems are some of them.

Christine Watson presented some of the results of the previous project ReMIX to an audience in which there were farmers, farm advisors, policymakers, researchers, network representatives and entrepreneurs. She also took the opportunity to describe some ongoing work in IntercropVALUES.

The experts explored steps for the second meeting, which will take place next spring.  If you want to know more about the focus group, their goals, activities and results, go to: