University research into farm sustainability

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The University of Portsmouth has been awarded £165,416 from the EU-funded Horizon 2020 as part of a €10 million five-year project to increase the sustainability and economic revenues of agriculture across the EU.

The European-wide Diverfarming consortium, involving researchers from the University of Portsmouth, is aiming to develop more innovative farming methods.

University researchers hope to develop systems to improve farm productivity and sustainability. Dr Marianna Cerasuolo, Principal Investigator of the Portsmouth aspect of the project, said: ‘Diverfarming focuses on research and innovation for rural development to foster sustainable growth through adoption of diversification, sustainable practices and efficient use of resources.’

It is hoped that the project will lead to improvements in productivity including the use of resources such as water fertilisers and pesticides; improved biodiversity and soil quality; a better use of energy and access to new markets as well as a reduction of economic risks.

In 2015 EU farming provided 9.2 million direct jobs and a GDP of over €500 billion.