RADIANT is a European project that promotes crop diversification, environmental and agrobiodiversity preservation, and fair economic development through the valorization of underutilised crops.
A consortium composed of researchers, farmers, value chain actors, and consumers carries it on. It develops solutions and tools that promote underutilised crops, agrobiodiversity, sustainable diets and dynamic value chains.
META Group supports RADIANT by developing methodologies to generate new knowledge and exploitable results. These outcomes will be used for capacity building, training, and commercialization. Additionally, they will contribute to further scientific development.
- Demonstrate successful transitions to inclusive agrobiodiversity systems.
- Carry out improvement programs so that underdeveloped crops become more competitive.
- Test the best agricultural practices that maximize their sustainable production.
- Expand their environmental, social and nutritional recognition, through the characterization of its multiple benefits.
- Offer solutions for their integration into profitable value chains, based on political, social and governance innovations.
- Empower society to integrate these foods into their diets.
The project, with a duration of 4 years, has 20 pilots (AURORA farms) that cover different activities across Europe, where we will test and demonstrate good practices.
Why Is It Important?
In the last century, 75% of the genetic diversity of crops has disappeared. There are about 259,000 plant species. Among them, 50,000 are edible. Only 150-200 species are actually consumed. Three species, namely maize, rice, and wheat, provide 60% of the calories and nutrition in the human diet. It is also estimated that very few crops account for the largest percentage of occupied land: maize (6.7%), potato (4.8%) soybean (6.5%), and wheat (9.5%).
While smallholder farmers may often produce a variety of landraces and crop species, most do not have well-established producer-consumer links; are unaware or have no access to monetary incentives or no capacity to apply for them; and lack access to sufficient quantities of locally adapted seeds and farming and processing machinery.
In parallel, cropping systems are underpinned by an agricultural paradigm of monoculture and industrialised agriculture (hybrids, agrochemicals), contributing to the decrease of crop diversity reflected in the repetitious foods European citizens consume daily.
The EU Farm to Fork Strategy aims to make the EU food system more robust and resilient to future crises like COVID-19, growing population demands and increasingly recurrent natural disasters such as floods or droughts. To achieve this, value chains must move towards becoming more biodiverse and resilient, hence dynamic.
RADIANT Project Network
The European project “RADIANT – Realizing Dynamic Value Chains for Underutilised Crops”, coordinated by Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Porto (Portugal), involves 29 entities from 12 countries – Portugal, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Hungary , Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Cyprus – and also has the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as a partner.