TitleElaboration of environment-friendly crop growing technologies identified by the Green Deal and their implementation in horticultural production in Latvia

Funding source: Central Finance and Contracting Agency

Implementation period: 01.01.2021.–30.11.2023.

Coordinator: Institute of Horticulture

Partners: "Baltic Studies Centre", “LM Product” Ltd., farm "Atvases"

The aim of the GreenHort project is to implement applied interdisciplinary research in collaboration between research institutions and farmers that explores the agronomic and social aspects of technological solutions aimed at ensuring the enforcement of the Green Deal in horticulture and facilitates the efficiency of their implementation for transformation and advancement of crop growing technologies in line with producers’ possibilities and needs in moving towards environment-friendly farming practices.

The aim of the project contributes to the achievement of the goals of the Transformation Direction no. 1 of the Latvian Smart Specialization Strategy (RIS3) (Change of the structure of production and exports in traditional economic sectors), including the development of human resources in science and technology and creation of new knowledge, as well as improving agricultural competitiveness. According to the NACE classification, the activities proposed correspond to code 72.19; according to the OECD classification of science it relates to codes 4.1. (agriculture, forestry, fisheries) and 5.4. (sociology).

Project activities are aimed at the implementation of the measure stipulated by the European Green Deal, which strives to move towards environment- and climate-friendly farming. An interdisciplinary approach is employed to achieve the goal set for the project by joining the expertise and skills of horticultural and social scientists and producers. The project tasks are set to explore and analyse the causes of the present situation of a rather low uptake of green technologies (intercropping, catch-crops, green manure application) on farms, by using a participatory, end-user-oriented approach in the investigation, implementation and promotion of a set of environment-friendly technological solutions. The research focuses on altering the soil management methods by  introducing intercropping and green manure in crop rotation, as well as promoting maximum soil cover with plants (also in winter), and interrow mulching. These are technological solutions that are practically feasible for the introduction of a system of sustainable soil management in horticulture. Social research is integrated in the project as an important cross-cutting component in the implementation of an evidence-based and participatory approach in the project activities. It will provide support in the elaboration of technologies and their implementation into practice through active engagement of the farming community.

The project work plan envisages a set of activities which will be implemented in both successive and parallel complementary stages of the research process across the disciplinary fields of horticulture and sociology in order to apply the chosen methodological solutions as effectively as possible, and obtain scientifically sound information and results. In collaboration with producers, environment-friendly horticultural technologies will be developed, tested, implemented and promoted, and the concept of demonstration farms will be advanced to facilitate the change of existing growing technologies to the new, environment-friendly technologies in line with the Green Deal. From a scientific point of view, data sets on the impact of environment-friendly technologies on plant productivity, phytosanitary status of plants and soil properties, as well as sociological data on the possibilities of introducing such technologies on farms and the factors influencing them will be obtained.