Our climate is changing and the world population is growing to an estimated 10 billion people by 2050. This may cause serious problems in global food supply, protection of the environment and safeguarding Earth’s biodiversity.

To face this challenge, agriculture will have to adapt and a key element in this will be the development of “future proof” crops. These crops not only will have to be high-yielding, but also should be able to withstand future climate conditions and will have to make very efficient use of scarce resources like water, phosphorus and minerals.

Future crops not only should sustainably give access to sufficient, nutritious, and diverse food to a worldwide growing population, but also support the circular bio-based economy and contribute to lower atmospheric CO2 concentration to counteract global warming.

Future-proofing our crops is an urgent issue and a challenging goal that only can be realized by a large-scale, international research cooperation. We call for international action and propose a pan-European research and innovation initiative, the CropBooster Program, to mobilize the European plant research community and all interested actors in agri-food research and innovation to face the challenge

Read the full opinion paper by J Harbinson, M Parry, J Davies, N Rolland, F Loreto, R Wilhelm K Metzlaff R Klein Langhorst published in Biology 2021 here (https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10070690). It was developed in the CropBooster-P project (www.cropbooster-p.eu/ ), funded under Horizon Europe grant agreement number 817690.

EPSO will start a new Working Group on ‘Future Proofed Crops’ after the summer break with a focus on abiotic stress. EPSO members contact [email protected] to become WG member. Non-members to become WG observer.

Karin Metzlaff (Executive Director EPSO, CropBooster partner)
Jeremy Harbinson (WUR, CropBooster leader strategy WP)
Rene Klein Langhorst (WUR, CropBooster coordinator, co-chair Future Proofed Crops EPSO WG)
Andreas Weber (Uni Duesseldorf, CropBooster partner, co-chair Future Proofed Crops EPSO WG)