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The UPCT and sixty European researchers initiate crop diversification to increase agricultural sustainability and profitability (17/05/2017)

Sixty researchers from 25 institutions from eight countries meet today and until Friday at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena to start the European project Diverfarming, to promote sustainable agricultural practices, "This week we will lay the foundations and map Route of work for the next five years, "explains the professor of the School of Agronomists Raul Zornoza, who coordinates the project.

"The European Commission has set itself the objective of increasing sustainability in the EU through strategies such as the combination of different crops in space and time, to increase income for the farmer and to improve biodiversity and environmental quality Of agrosystems, "recalls Zornoza.

The Diverfarming project has a funding of 10.5 million euros from the Horizonte2020 program.

The meeting includes the visit on Thursday to commercial farms of companies associated with Asaja in the town of Sucina, which will implement the diversification of crops in both irrigated and rainfed, citrus and almond, planting aromatic species, cereals and Legumes among the trees.

"We are going to introduce diversification in the citrus sector, where nobody does, based on the good results that is already giving in traditional almond farms," ​​Zornoza said.

"The soil edaphic quality has improved and erosion has been reduced, a very important problem in the Region, where we have soils with very little organic matter, which remain naked by the continuous plow and whose surface layer is drawn when they occur Torrential rains.

In that layer are the nutrients and microorganisms that make the soil fertile and where there is more water retention capacity, "said the researcher of the group on Management, Use and Recovery of Soils and Water (GARSA).

"In the medium term, erosion affects the productivity and quality of the harvest and leads farmers to have to spend more on inputs, fertilizers, machinery ...", he says.

"Diversification is demonstrating that growing other plants increases biodiversity and the presence of insects that are natural enemies of pests," he adds.

European researchers are also going to learn about the rotation of organic horticultural crops, "an example of the sustainable practices that are already established in the Region of Murcia and that can serve as a model for horticulture in other areas," Zornoza summarizes.

"The objective is to naturalize the agricultural ecosystems to maintain the soil resource that gives sustenance to the production while improving the profitability of the farms," ​​he concludes.

Source: UPCT

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