The world will need to produce sufficient food for a growing population which will reach around 9 billion people by 2050, while coping with severe soil and biodiversity losses, water and energy scarcity, and the risks of climate change variability.
Many production systems and agronomic practices in use today may no longer be sustainable, including the production of food, feed and fibres from annual crops. Inducing a perennial habit into these crops could have a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits, including soil health and fertility restoration, maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem functions, water preservation, farmers livelihood and markets stability.
For this purpose perennial wheat, rice, maize, legumes and oilseed species have been developed over the last 30 years worldwide, either through domestication of wild species or from hybridization of currently grown crops with perennial relatives, characterized by a great root mass and a long photosynthetic activity.
In order to adopt perennial rotations and cropping systems, significant changes in management practices, markets and policies will be necessary, and interdisciplinary research, public-private collaborations and farmers involvement will be required.
Based on this background, FAO in collaboration with the Consiglio per la Ricerca e Sperimentazione in Agricoltura (CRA), The Land Institute, Charles Sturt University, CSIRO and other related institutes, will host an Expert Workshop on: “Perennial crops for Food Security” from 28th to 30th August 2013, in Rome.
This workshop will bring together Senior level professionals, policy makers and NGO’s. They will take stock of the best information available today on perennial crops and discuss the new cropping systems and rotations for different ecologies to create awareness on their potential for food security and climate change resilience, efficiency, ecosystem management, and new economic opportunities.
The Expert Workshop aims to discuss:
· • Status and trends of scientific knowledge specific tofor different grain crops and legumes, and different ecologies and cropping systems.
• Gaps and opportunities at environmental, social and economic levels.
• Strategies and tools to raise awareness around perennial crops for sustainable production intensification and food security.