Climate variability has a fundamental influence on agro-ecosystems. For a substantial part of Europe, climate change scenarios forecast significant decreases of up to 20% in plant productivity, coupled with a general decline in the stability of agricultural ecosystems. This is particularly true of the Carpathian Basin. Agriculture and food safety are extremely sensitive to climate changes, so adaptability to stress is likely to gain priority over the quantitative aspects of yield. This will demand new approaches both to plant breeding and crop production, and in research strategy.
The Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (ARI HAS) is one of the leading centres for crop research and breeding in Central and Eastern Europe, in Central Transdanubian convergence region with a profile involving complex, interdependent, basic, methodological and applied research projects culminating in practical applications.
The institute maintains close contacts with farmers and processors. Based on its international recognition and accumulated knowledge, the institute aims to develop into a regional Research Training and Service Centre to train and develop researchers, breeders and producers capable of offering practical help to farmers in Central and Eastern Europe in countering the unfavourable effects of predicted climate change. An increase in research potential is envisaged through strategic partnerships based on existing international contacts, whereby young scientists could gain valuable know-how and experience abroad, while experienced colleagues would be invited to work at ARI HAS.
The results achieved in the course of the project will not only be published in the form of scientific papers, but will also form the basis of talks and pamphlets aimed at farmers and food consumers in general, in order to make them aware of the likely effects of climate change and of how these can be mitigated in the interests of achieving secure food supplies.