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Strategic objective

Food crop production is restricted in the Mediterranean region. Typical crop cultivation under semi-arid and arid conditions in Mediterranean countries, affected by multiple abiotic stress factors further influenced by climate change, are cereals in low yielding monoculture or eventually combined with fallow. The strategic objective of the project therefore is:

Improve food production by introducing climate-proof varieties in crop rotations of wheat, grain legumes and new crops (potentially high value food cash crops), in a rainfed system with supplemental deficit irrigation using marginal-quality water and harvested rainwater. This will accelerate adoption of improved agricultural practices supporting small farmers livelihood and income levels.

Specific objectives and verifiable indicators

WP Specific objectives Verifiable indicator
1 - Characterise and improve Mediterranean farming systems productivity under multiple abiotic stresses through agronomic, genetic and environmental approaches for sustainable agriculture. Average production increased (seed yield) 10%

- Identify new traits of grains creating climate proof crops, of stable yield and quality, under abiotic stresses.

- Test new crops with potential to cope with multiple stress factors in target environments.

Genotypes with improved abiotic stress tolerance identified

At least 5 accessions/main species tested


- Apply sustainable agronomic interventions and identification of suitable cultural practices to mitigate multiple abiotic stresses in order to stabilize and improve yield and quality of selected crops and species.

- Optimize soil water conservation and supplemental irrigation to mitigate multiple abiotic stresses in test fields.

Agronomic strategies to improve yield and quality with 10% identified

Supplemental irrigation strategy improved water use efficiency by 10%


- Study the productivity potential and environmental implications of supplemental and deficit irrigation interventions under Mediterranean environment

- Evaluate the effects of using marginal-quality water (saline water and treated wastewater) on soil properties such as soil salinization and presence of undesirable constituents (nitrate, heavy metal, etc), water quality, and crop quality

- Study the environmental implications of introducing new annual crops and traits in existing cropping systems

Best practices for productive use of marginal-quality water and environmental protection under rainfed and irrigated systems developed


- Understand social and economic factors affecting farmers´ acceptance to adopt proposed farming systems and new crops;

- Identify local policy impact on farming systems, new crops, water saving and food-safety

Strategy to select improved farming systems and new crops developed


- Model the effect of water management using fresh (rainwater) and marginal-quality water (treated wastewater and saline water) on water use efficiency, salinity distribution and crop yield.

- Use the models to find the best practice that integrate water, crop and field management saving fresh water, produces optimum yield and safeguards the environment.

Models calibrated and tested using data from the project field experiment sites.

SALTMED model software is ready for distribution among beneficiaries and stakeholders


- Produce guidelines and recommendations for farmers and extension services on best management of water, crops, soil and field under multiple abiotic stresses.

- Maximise the exploitation of results produced, to ensure the circulation of papers, reports, methodology and guidelines, and to reach stakeholders and policy makers for creation of a general awareness on problems and solutions dealing with abiotic stresses in Mediterranean agriculture.

A database to stakeholders and interest groups created.

Booklet prepared for distribution to all beneficiaries and stakeholders on new water and land management strategies

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