Since the Green Revolution in the 1950s and 60s, crop production in Europe and around the world has largely relied on plant protection products also known as PPPs (chemical fertilizers and pesticides), irrigation and mechanization methods. As the population increases, one of the largest challenges facing humanity is ensuring food security and healthy food access while also maintaining a sustainable environment, including no further land increase for agricultural usage.
NOVATERRA aims to create a more holistic approach to future farming. Using precision farming, new natural protection products and soil management strategies the project aims to reduce environmental pollution and reduce damage to non-target organisms as well as better economic sustainability for Mediterranean farmers. This practical and integrative approach is based on a series of multivariate case studies which will explore the use of biopesticides adjuvants and formulations, smart farming techniques, robotics, alongside novel soil management and functional biodiversity.
At the same time, the project aims to gather the insights from industry stakeholders and to use these stakeholders to maximize the adoption of all successful solutions obtained from the case studies.
Τhe project will develop and test a pool of novel, integrated and sustainable strategies to eliminate or significantly reduce the use and negative impacts of contentious Plant Protection Products (also known as pesticides). To meet this goal, the project will complete a series of case studies in Mediterranean olive groves and vineyards. The project will also liaise with a variety of stakeholders through the Stakeholders Network, which will involve not only farmers but also other relevant agents such policymakers, experts, associations of olive oil and wine producers, auxiliary industries, and citizens. The stakeholders shall participate in the initial diagnosis, participate in focus group meetings and workshops and other exploitation activities and provide specific consulting advice.
NOVATERRA’s new efficient strategies will be derived from the integration of three key approaches:
- the use of alternative and natural protection products (biopesticides, biocontrol and innovative adjuvants and formulations);
- the use of a smart farming platform for a more precise application of the protection products;
- the testing of new soil management, functional biodiversity strategies and weed management robotics for a greater crop health with less chemicals.
AGENSO is developing an advanced Decision Support System (DSS) for disease and pest monitoring and control in Olives and Vineyards, as well as a smart platform for a holistic spray application process.