New innovative crops could significantly reduce agriculture’s climate change impact and environmental footprint

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of up to USD 21.1 million to CIMMYT for a groundbreaking initiative to mitigate the environmental impact of agriculture, by developing new wheat varieties that are capable of reducing agriculture’s nitrogen footprint. The CropSustaiN initiative could have sweeping implications for global food security and environmental sustainability.

As the global population approaches the 10 billion mark, the reliance on fertilisers to boost agricultural production has become an essential, yet environmentally challenging, practice. A Century-long dependence on these additives has allowed food production to keep pace with the growth in human population. However, the use of fertilisers across various farming systems is now causing severe ecological stress. The leaching of nitrogen into natural ecosystems, coupled with the release of greenhouse gases, is pushing the Earth’s environmental limits to a critical threshold.

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