In the Netherlands, Wageningen University & Research is working within the CropBooster-P EU project on a roadmap to make agricultural crops future-proof. These crops should have a significantly higher yield, combined with an optimal use of water and minerals. And, of course, the crops should also have the highest possible nutritional value and quality. Ultimately, these crops will need to result in the doubling of the global food production required to feed the world’s expected 10 billion inhabitants and reduce the effects of climate change. The good news is that this is possible.
Researchers say it is technically feasible to double the yield of European agriculture by 2050. The key lies in optimizing the photosynthesis process: “The current agricultural crops now convert a surprisingly low percentage of sunlight into plant biomass; some 0.5 to 1%. Doubling the percentage to 1 to 2% is all we need and this has already been scientifically proven to be possible. But there’s more involved than photosynthesis alone; the improved crops will also have to use water and minerals such as nitrogen and phosphorus very efficiently. Moreover, an increased yield should have no impact on quality and nutritional value. A great deal of additional research will be required to achieve this goal.”