Designing the Crops for the Future; The CropBooster Program
Laboratory of Biophysics, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, 6700 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire & Végétale, University Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, INRAE, CEA, 38 000 Grenoble, France
Department of Biology, Agriculture and Food Sciences, National Research Council (CNR), 00185 Rome, Italy
Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, 80138 Naples, Italy
Institute for Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology, Julius Kühn-Institut, 06484 Quedlinburg, Germany
European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO), 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Wageningen Plant Research, Wageningen University & Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Pierre Devaux and Pierre Sourdille
Received: 29 June 2021 / Revised: 16 July 2021 / Accepted: 17 July 2021 / Published: 20 July 2021
Our climate is changing and the world population is growing to an estimated 10 billion people by 2050. This may cause serious problems in global food supply, protection of the environment and safeguarding Earth’s biodiversity. To face these challenges, agriculture will have to adapt and a key element in this will be the development of “future-proof” crops. These crops will not only have to be high-yielding, but also should be able to withstand future climate conditions and will have to make very efficient use of scarce resources such as water, phosphorus and minerals. Future crops should not only sustainably give access to sufficient, nutritious, and diverse food to a worldwide growing population, but also support the circular bio-based economy and contribute to a lower atmospheric CO2 concentration to counteract global warming. Future-proofing our crops is an urgent issue and a challenging goal that only can be realized by large-scale, international research cooperation. We call for international action and propose a pan-European research and innovation initiative, the CropBooster Program, to mobilize the European plant research community and all interested actors in agri-food research and innovation to face the challenge.