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From farmer to consumer: Diversifying crop production and consumption.

004From farmer to consumer: Diversifying crop product...

Blue sky Policy Alert 004

FP7 themes health agro ict nano energy environment transport ssh space security
ERA goals mobility infrastucture rtd institutions knowledge sharing  joint programming  cooperation 
Author(s)Joe Ravetz, Rafael Popper, Thordis Sveinsdottir, Yanuar Nugroho
Contributor(s)Martin Fatun, Peter Ellwood, Fiona Lickorish, John Reynolds, John Turnpenny
ManifestationGradual development
Potential impacts in Europe
people's lives
legislation & regulation
economy & business
defence & security
government & politics
environment & ecosystems
science & technology
Importance for EUCritical
Strategic attentionby 2030 Minor  by 2050 Moderate
Type of impactVery negative
Inspired byBrainstorming session and group discussions in the iKNOW Workshop in Manchester (February 2010)
Related to
Keywords, , , , , , ,

From farmer to consumer: Diversifying crop production and consumption.

Research topic

Overreliance on a few core crops (e.g. wheat) makes food production and consumption vulnerable to any type of disruption. Were a new wheat disease to develop it could have severe implications for food markets worldwide, which could have unforeseen consequences such as starvation, civil unrest and high food prices. There is a need to prepare for diversifying food production and consumption in order to avoid such consequences. Farmers need to be assisted in order to better diversify their crops and consumers should be made aware of a greater variety of food products.



Research could focus on examining both food production and consumption patterns and current methods that are being used to influence both sides. Research could focus on ways to reach consumers and influence them to diversify their food consumption in order to move away from overreliance on a few core products (e.g. wheat). Research which focuses on food production could examine current food production trends in order to inform successful ways of diversifying crops. Research could also focus on food regulation, legislation and policy in order to identify what can be done to ease the transition to diversifying crops.


Expected impact

Research should aim to a) examine current food production and consumption patterns; b) inform practices that aim to diversify crop production and consumption; c) inform any policy response, regulatory and legislative initiatives that could encourage crop diversification.


Importance for Europe

Food security is an important grand challenge for Europe and threat to core crops could potentially have serious implications. It is vital that research underpins any policy preparation from the EU. Joint regulation is also necessary and the EU needs to take initiatives to formulate a response in the event of threats to food security. EU policy could then provide blueprints for any policy response from the governments of member states.


Disclaimer: The wild card presented in this brief may not happen at all or in the near future. iKNOW is a new EU funded research project aimed to explore surprising events (wild cards) and emerging issues (weak signals) potentially shaping or shaking the future of Europe and the world.