PLANT-B : A sustainable mixed cropping-beekeeping system in the Mediterranean basin

Project identifier 150-PLANT-B
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2019-07-01
End date 2022-06-30
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Ecological intensification approaches
  • Sustainable intensification: Identification and breeding of animals and crops to maintain/increase productivity
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Development and innovation oriented (research) project
    Programme PRIMA
    Keyword pesticides; bees; apiculture; citrus; pollination services; honey
    Location Greece; Algeria; Egypt; Spain; France
    Budget 2 082 676
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator Benaki Phytopathological Institute
    Partners
  • Stayia Farm
  • Algeria National Agronomic Research institute (INRAA)
  • M’Hamed Bougara University of Boumerdés (UMBB)
  • Agricultural Research Centre (ARC), Egypt
  • Jaume I University
  • French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA)
  • Tuscia University (UNITUS)
  • Consorzio Nazionale Produttori Apistici (CoNaProA)
  • Project Web Site https://www.era-learn.eu/network-information/networks/prima/section-1-call-farming-systems-2018/a-sustainable-mixed-cropping-beekeeping-system-in-the-mediterranean-basin
    Documents PRIMA funded projects 2018

    Description

    Context

    The impact of pesticide use in intensive agriculture and beekeeping on food safety but also on the environmental sustainability of these pro-duction systems is currently subject to scrutiny. Indeed, the numerous honeybee (HB) mortality cases, linked to contaminant residues found in dead bees and beehives, is a clear indicator of the high pressure affecting agro-ecosystems. A transition to modern IPM tools, technologies and prac-tices that enable low pesticide inputs, is considered necessary to alleviate this pressure, while supporting food security and food safety. Furthermore, the adaptation of a mixed farming system in the Mediterranean region that combines citrus-AMPs-beekeeping could facilitate a more efficient use of land, optimize pollination services by HBs and benefit both the crop and beehive products. Such a farming system could also provide habitats for HBs and other insect pollinators during the off-flowering crop season, in-creasing the sustainability and biodiversity of the system and subsequently its resistance against climatic changes. Last but not least, valorisation from a productive point of view of endemic HB sub-species is very important because to date the worldwide beekeeping industry relies on a very few HB subspecies historically bred for aims that do not take into rightful account several emerging challenges which are seriously threatening this economically-relevant insect species.

    Objectives

    PLANT-B proposal aspires to improve sustainability and agronomic return of Mediterranean citrus agroecosystem and beekeeping combining them in a mixed farming system ‘citrus-aromatic/medicinal plants-HBs’, through certain objectives: a) provide new IPM tools against crop & HB pests, b) valorisation of well-adapted endemic HB subspecies to Mediterranean con-ditions with potential of resistance to major HB pests, c) development and optimization of the proposed farming system in the Mediterranean region, d) improvement of quality/safety traceability in honey produce, e) ascer-tain environmental and socio-economic sustainability of the new farming system, f) promotion of the new product(s).

    Expected impacts

    PLANT-B aims to produce concrete and positive impacts on the Mediterra-nean citrus-bee productive system by obtaining the following results: 1. will stand on low pesticide input in Citrus crop and associated beehives, succeeding productivity and economic return to farmers and beekeepers alike; 2. is expected to improve the present resources management of two stand-alone farming systems, citrus cropping and beekeeping, making them compatible in the same farm unit with mutual benefit (pollination, honey quality); 3. will integrate new ecological, agronomical and so-cio-economic knowledge to accredit qualities of an innovative sustainable and efficient farming system; 4. will develop a sustainable use of genetic resources of well adopted endemic HB races/ecotypes fitting the actual needs of beekeepers in different geographical and climatic contests at present and in future.