WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?
The food supply faces major challenges. With present-day population growth and consumption patterns, food requirements are constantly rising. Simultaneously, food production already has a heavy environmental impact, for example by emitting greenhouse gases. To meet this challenge, more efficient cultivation, crop-growing and animal husbandry that are, at the same time, more environmentally sustainable are required.AquaAgri, the thematic research programme, sets out to study new system solutions both in traditional land agriculture and in the expanding aquaculture sector, i.e. rearing of animals and growing of plants in water. The purpose of the programme is to obtain new knowledge and develop aquaculture and agriculture in our part of the world, but to do so on the basis of a comprehensive global and societal view.
HOW CAN THE PROGRAMME CONTRIBUTE TO A SOLUTION?
The research, which is aimed at developing both new technology and new policy instruments, is being conducted in five different projects:
- Sustainable large-scale cultivation of macroalgae in Sweden (University of Gothenburg).
- Innovative solutions for developing high-quality marine aquaculture in Sweden (University of Gothenburg).
- Milk from grass and by-products (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, Uppsala).
- Using the harvest gap for sustained intensification of autumn wheat production (SLU Skara).
- Perennial crops: important components of robust and sustainable production systems (SLU Uppsala).
Central issues in all these projects are reducing environmental impact, while improving animal protection and making processes throughout the production chain more efficient.The research programme has a special focus on trying to develop solutions capable of closing the ecological loop between agriculture and aquaculture. For example, this might involve using surpluses, by-products and residuals in agriculture and vice versa. A special project coordinator has been appointed to carry out such tasks as facilitating the exchange of knowledge among the various research environments.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE RESULTS?
The new knowledge and solutions developed in the programme will strengthen Swedish research in agriculture and aquaculture, but the purpose is to favour the whole food industry in Sweden, including food companies, individual farmers and interest organisations, as well as public agencies.