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Haselfichte. Section tangentielle x 200.. © INRA, BUCUR Voichita


Updated on 10/19/2016
Published on 01/19/2013


In the context of a growing world population, controlling the diseases and pests that affect cultivated plants can help to secure the quality and quantity of agricultural production.  Nevertheless, this must be accompanied by the use of control methods that are less dependent on pesticides and are more environmentally-friendly.  The research challenge for the SMACH Metaprogramme is therefore to reconcile yields and sustainability.

To achieve this objective, it is necessary to develop new cropping systems and tools to support these innovations, and to focus on clarifying their benefits at the economic, social and environmental levels.  This means it is necessary to create links between the choices of adapted varieties,  the farming practices which support them, the deployment of crops in different regions and the further development of methods to control the principal pests.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the natural regulation processes which exist between different organisms.

In terms of research, the SMACH Metaprogramme will therefore favour integrated approaches with cross-overs between different disciplines including genetics, agronomy, ecology, and social and economic sciences.  To achieve this, INRA will draw on the in-house skills that have been developed by its thirteen Research Divisions and its previous experience in the coordination of national or European initiatives on this subject.

The SMACH Metaprogramme aims to drive these research issues at an international level, because they are of global importance.

The five key challenges of SMaCH

  1. Solicit, encourage, optimize and manage innovations in crop health management
  2. Avoid risks to crop health through surveillance and the establishment of resilient and robust agrosystems
  3. Manage the biodiversity of agrosystems at the regional level
  4. Describe the strategies of the stewards and stakeholders of production and marketing networks
  5. Place plant health management in an international dimension

Representation of the five key challenges of Metaprogramme SMaCH. © INRA, Sylvie Colleu
Representation of the five key challenges of Metaprogramme SMaCH © INRA, Sylvie Colleu

The approach

  • To construct a scientific community by federating multidisciplinary research in the field of crop health and more particularly by integrating the fields of biotechnology and socio-economics.  To initiate events for this community: symposia, seminars, researcher schools, etc.
  • To contribute to the emergence of fully-fledged disciplinary fields with academic visibility.  To participate in expertise in these fields.
  • To develop a framework for privileged interactions with our European and international partners (ENDURE action).
  • To encourage dialogue between researchers and actors in agricultural development.
  • To participate in the training of young scientists through research: hosting of doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows from other countries.