In Pisa, project for sustainable production of figs in Med

Financed with 1 mn euros, participation of Spain,Tunisia,Turkey

24 April, 19:09

    PISA - A research project called Figgen, led by Tommaso Giordani, a professor in the University of Pisa's Farming, Food, and Agro-Environmental Sciences Department, aims to promote the natural variability of the fig, an ancient fruit for modern sustainable Mediterranean agriculture.

    Together with a team of researchers from Italy, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey, the project beat out 3,000 other international teams from 19 countries to win one million euros in the Farming System category of the 2019 PRIMA initiative (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area).

    PRIMA has been led for the past three years by professor and economist Angelo Riccaboni, former rector of the University of Siena.

    Figgen project leader Giordani said climate change is "dramatically affecting the Mediterranean region".

    "Solutions are necessary to adapt agricultural system practices to the temperature increase, drought, and soil salinity," Giordani said.

    "Adopting mixed cultivation systems such as agroforestry can fight the loss of agro-biodiversity and the reduction of soil fertility," he said.

    Over the next 36 months, the team of researchers will work with farmers, producers, and distributors with multidisciplinary experience and abilities to introduce farming systems to grow figs in ways that are more suitable for the types of environments that produce them following climate change, which will allow for sustainable production of figs in the future.

    "One of the objectives is to make agricultural systems based on biodiversity, which are more resistant to climate uncertainty and more sustainable," Giordani said.

    "This will have beneficial effects on the maintenance of natural resources, above all in regards to biodiversity above and underground, as well as on the conservation of soil and water and the promotion of soils in marginal areas, therefore ensuring the supply of improved ecosystemic services," he said.

    "All of this will have an impact on well-being as well as farmers' income, on the agro-ecosystem and on production of fruits of this type, allowing to invert the trend of decline in fig production in recent years in the Mediterranean area".

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