Why plant new crops every year? - Re-imagining single-use crops

The world needs to produce food for a population of 9 billion by 2050, while coping with soil and biodiversity losses, water and energy scarcity, and the risks of climate change variability. Perennial crops provide a way to reduce environmental impacts and labour while sustainably feeding global populations.

Where & When
FAO Headquarters, German room, Rome, Italy, August 28-30, 2013

Senior experts at the workshop will discuss:

  • The status and trends of scientific knowledge of perennial grain crops, legumes, ecologies and cropping systems.
  • Gaps and opportunities at environmental, social and economic levels for mainstreaming perennial cropping.

The Challenge
Increasing yields of perennial crops, mainstreaming perennial crops and developing new commercial perennial crops.

Many production systems and agronomic practices today are not sustainable, including the production of food, feed and fibres from annual crops. Many soil processes will not be able to sustain themselves, as each year we disrupt these rich ecological resources by planting monocultures, clear-cutting crop roots and using other unsustainable practices which will not continue to provide sufficiently high and stable grain yields. Mainstreaming the use of perennial crops into current practices can have a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits, including improving soil health and fertility restoration, maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem functions, preserving water, as well as improving farmers’ livelihoods and market stability.
Perennial wheat, rice, maize, legumes and oilseed species have been under development by breeding programs worldwide for the past two decades.
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.

More information on the workshop website.


Core Themes