June 24th 2024

How to design “intercrops friendly” policies? Lessons from the analysis of the barriers to intercropping in Europe

This "policy brief", written in the context of the IntercropVALUES european project, presents five policy recommendations to foster the use of intercropping in Europe.


Despite its potential to increase the sustainability of our agricultural system, intercropping has virtually disappeared from the agricultural landscapes of European member states.  Its spread is hindered by barriers of different types (e.g., cultural, financial, organisational, technical) affecting all levels of the food value chain, which emerge from a complex web of interactions and may reinforce one another. When it comes to identifying solutions, the  whole causal chains linking barriers together should be considered.

Intercropping won’t develop without a coordinated commitment from all stakeholders of the food value chain, including policy makers. This policy brief presents a serie of five recommendations policymakers should implement to foster the use of intercropping:

  1. Promote the development of coordinated value chains adapted to intercropping,
  2. Enhance the involvement of stakeholders in policy making,
  3. Ensure coherency between policy objectives and instruments,
  4. Increase and facilitate the access to financial support for all actors involved in intercropping value chains,
  5. Foster advisor training and knowledge transfer.

These actions should be implemented altogether to address the systemic aspect of the intercropping  lock-ins.


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