The LEGUMINOSE project introduces itself
With the world population currently surpassing 8 billion and heading towards 10 billion by 2050, it is imperative to increase global food production. However, current agricultural methods, such as monocultures and the intensive use of fertilisers, fall short of meeting this demand without environmental repercussions. A promising agricultural practice that may increase land productivity in a sustainable manner is intercropping.
Intercropping is an ancient technique in which two or more crops are cultivated simultaneously on the same field. Intercropping offers various benefits, including increased biodiversity, enhanced soil fertility, and a reduced need for fertilizers. Despite its environmental and economic benefits, intercropping is only used on two percent of the arable land in Europe.
The EU-funded LEGUMINOSE project wants to change this using a two-pronged approach: The researchers are collecting data from seven research fields across Europe to dissect the effects of legume-cereal intercropping on soil health and crop quality. To complement this research effort, the scientists are closely collaborating with farmers: “We want to explore the motivation of farmers for adopting intercropping practises and work together on solutions to overcome potential barriers,” said project coordinator Shamina Imran Pathan. 180 on-farm living labs in nine countries (IT, ES, DK, DE, UK, CZ, PL, PK and EG) will serve as a testing ground, where farmers will try intercropping in their own fields. Exploring different combinations of legumes and cereals will provide insights into the optimal combination for different climate and soil conditions.
The LEGUMINOSE project started in November 2022 and will run for 48 months until October 2026.The international and interdisciplinary research team includes 21 partners from 10 countries.
LEGUMINOSE intro video
Watch our scientists from the LEGUMINOSE team introduce the project and its goals.