From Farm to Fork: New EU research project TRADITOM joins forces between scientists and farmers
New EU research initiative aims to valorise genetic diversity stored in traditional European tomato varieties
Tomato is the second most consumed vegetable in the EU and a major dietary source of many nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Even though tomato is originally from America, a large number of European traditional varieties have been developed by local farmers since the Spanish conquistadores brought the first seeds several centuries ago.
During the last decades, the cultivation of these traditional varieties has been replaced by uniform, high-yielding tomato cultivars, resulting from modern tomato breeding. But traditional varieties are often associated with superior sensory quality, may also be better adapted to harsher environments and in some cases provide better shelf life/ flavour combination than commercial cultivars. Therefore, traditional tomato varieties represent an untapped resource of promising genetic variation and their preservation is of utmost importance to maintain sufficient agricultural diversification to ensure future food security and health and to meet new consumer demands. In addition, the cultivation of traditional tomatoes by local farmer associations also has an important impact in the local economy. However, at present there is little objective scientific information regarding their identity, genetic make-up and quality of traditional EU tomato varieties.
The aim of the new EU funded research project TRADITOM is to valorise the genetic diversity stored in traditional tomato varieties and increase their resilience so that traditional varieties will not be completely replaced by more productive modern cultivars. TRADITOM seeks to provide traditional tomato farmers with a strong science-based knowledge platform on the identity of traditional tomato varieties, i. e. why are they different and better according to consumers than modern cultivars?
Equipped with a budget of €4.3 million, TRADITOM sets out over the next three years to help the conservation of traditional tomato varieties and to increase their competitiveness in the global and local market.
The project coordinator, Professor Antonio Granell (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC), has brought together a multi-national, interdisciplinary team of experts from 16 partnering institutions. The innovative multi-actor approach includes farmers associations, SME breeding companies and academic institutions. As managing partner, Eurice will support the consortium in the overall project management and communication activities.
The TRADITOM partners can build on the scientific expertise of an outstanding consortium of complementary academic groups as well as agronomic and traditional knowledge provided by farmer associations and breeding companies located in the different participating countries. After the recent launch of the project on March 01, 2015, the partners of the consortium will come together in Procida, Italy from April 24-25 to officially kick off the project’s activities.
The project TRADITOM: “Traditional tomato varieties and cultural practices: a case for agricultural diversification with impacton food security and health of European population” is a three-years collaborative project, which started on March 01, 2015. It has received funding from the Horizon 2020 European Union funding for Research and Innovation with a total budget of €4.3 million.
For more information, please see the TRADITOM fact sheet.
Dr Verena Peuser
European Research and Project Office GmbH
Tel.: +49 30 3744 15832
Tags: Horizon 2020