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Research for sustainable tropical perennial cropping systems

Welcome to the perennial crops website, a collaboration between the Plant Production Systems (PPS) and Crop Systems Analysis (CSA) groups of Wageningen University. Here, you can find an overview of our perennial crop projects, related to bananacocoa, coffeeoil palm, or a combination of multiple perennial crops. You can navigate to your crop of interest by either clicking on one of the links or by using the tabs on the main menu.

Why perennials?

Tropical perennial cropping systems are a source of income for millions of households around the world. The products (such as palm oil, cocoa, coffee, tea, rubber, bananas and other fruits) play an important role in the diets of local and global populations, providing nutrition as well as delicious flavours. Perennial cropping systems have their own unique opportunities in terms of in-field biodiversity, carbon capture, efficient use of nutrients and water, preventing erosion, enhancing soil quality, and providing farmers with a stable source of income. On the other hand, these systems face important challenges, such as the lack of flexibility, poor planting materials, ageing of plantations, poor management, long and opaque supply chains, deforestation issues, and poor commodity pricing leading to poverty among growers. With our research we aim to contribute to more sustainable, profitable and resilient tropical perennial cropping systems. Some of the key projects that we are working on are the GYGA oil palm yield gap project, the CocoaSoils project, and the UN-WCMC Trade, Development and the Environment Hub. In addition, we are involved in numerous smaller projects around the globe.

Our team and partners

You can find an overview of the PPS and CSA researchers who work on perennial crops by using the People tab of the main menu. In the project descriptions (available in the crop tabs) we refer to the multiple partner organisations that we work with.

More information

If you would like to have more information on any of the projects or on our research in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Latest news

  • Populations of potentially drought resistant wild Robusta coffee were identified in the PhD research of Catherine Kiwuka to be defended online on October 19. This study, in which CSA, the Ugandan National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), and the Institut de Reseserche pour le Développement (IRD) collaborated, raises hopes for developing drought resistant cultivars. But these populations occur in forests that are currently under threat of deforestation. For instance, the Zoka forest in Northern Uganda where the most valuable material occurs, is no more than a 10 km2 forest remnant and it’s under severe threat. Furthermore, the study shows that, while the wild populations in the north western part of the country are genetically unique, those in the south of the country are already genetically mixed with cultivated material... 

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