Mobilizing and Breeding Intra and inter-specific crop Diversity for a systemic change towards pesticide-free agriculture

Projet national
Financement : ANR PPR
Equipe(s) impliquée(s) : VASCO/MAGELLAN/ODYCEE
Début : 2021
Fin : 2026
Responsable : Noémie Gaudio (VASCO)

Description :

MoBiDiv aims to produce and disseminate knowledge to boost breeding for within-field cultivated biodiversity as a major driver towards a pesticide-free agriculture. MoBiDiv is an interdisciplinary and multi-actor project. Cutting-edge research in genetics, agronomy, pathology, weed science, ecology, microbiology and economics will be combined to participatory approaches, in order to breed, co-design and evaluate crop and variety mixtures with stakeholders. Studying wheat, pea and fodder species, MoBiDiv will explore the changes of the socio-economic system needed to support the promotion of diversifying agro-ecosystems.

Homogenization has been the dominant paradigm of agriculture in industrialized countries. Crop genetic uniformity has contributed to yield progress, but came at the cost of major environmental dis-services, as the emergence and rise of pests, diseases and weeds, controlled by an intense use of pesticides. To break this conundrum, MoBiDiv will trigger a paradigm shift toward diversification through breeding for intra- and inter-specific crop diversity on wheat and fodder species. MoBiDiv focusses on crop and variety mixtures, as they provide unique within-field regulations for a pesticide-free agriculture by various but not fully understood mechanisms of complex plant-plant interactions. Breeding for improved mixtures also implies a disruptive shift in the breeding concepts, evaluation methods and seed sector organisation.

To address this challenge, MoBiDiv’s novel vision (i) systemically targets the bioagressor threats of a pesticide-free agriculture (weeds, diseases and pests), (ii) promotes a full-fledged, interdisciplinary approach, with biotechnical disciplines and social sciences working hand-in-hand with complementary research devices, (iii) studies both in-firm and on-farm breeding and evaluation approaches. This builds MoBiDiv’s ambition to contribute decisively to the adaptation of fields, farms and firms to the challenges of a pesticide-free agriculture.

First, MoBiDiv will uncover the diversification dynamics in France and technico-socio-economic drivers, e.g., using state-of-the-art reviews of farmers’ practices. Second, it aims at deciphering the mechanisms of plant-plant interactions promoting bioagressor control, combining genetic and functional ecology approaches, coupled with statistical and mechanistic modelling approaches. These mechanisms will be mobilized in field trials, designing gradients of genetic and functional diversity, and assessing their impact on incidence and adaptation of bioagressors, as well as ecosystem services. Third, it will develop innovative approaches to deal with the complexity of mixtures at the breeding, assembly and evaluation steps, and will propose both in-firm and on-farm breeding approaches along with tailored statistical methods. Fourth, it will implement participatory approaches to design, breed and evaluate a wider range of mixtures, varieties and populations adapted to local contexts. Fifth, it will investigate scenarios and anticipated impacts of new market standards, funding and organization of research and extension services to promote crop diversification.

A major goal in MoBiDiv is to speed up the validation of lab innovations and discoveries, and conversely to identify new scientific questions from users assessments and knowledge.

Participatory approaches will be implemented, involving farmers, seed sorters and other actors to develop context-specific solutions that can be appropriated directly. MoBiDiv will also link scientists to breeders and other stakeholders in the seed sector (technical institutes, cooperatives, extension services), through interviews and restitution seminars. To fulfil its impact, Mobidiv has designed a higher education training plan towards French and International students, and professional in continuous training as well. Innovative pedagogical resources will be produced and freely diffused.

Responsables : Noémie Gaudio (VASCO)

Date de modification : 24 janvier 2024 | Date de création : 01 février 2022 | Rédaction : webmaster