Innovation support programme

Background and Goals

The agricultural and food industry is under constant pressure to adapt in order to maintain its competitiveness in national and international markets. Structural change clearly underlines the intensity of this adaptation pressure. In view of the high wage levels in Germany, it is essential to accelerate technical progress to take better advantage of the employment and value creation potential of these sectors in the future. Innovative ideas for the agricultural and food industry in Germany are needed more than ever before. Cultivation of robust and highly productive crops and new management methods to improve animal welfare are examples of sustainable and successful innovations.

Objectives: The objective of the programme is to support technical and non-technical innovations in Germany in the areas of food, agriculture and consumer protection. The support is aimed at:

  •  Strengthening competitiveness,
  •  Strengthening economic innovation,
  •  Creating and safeguarding jobs,
  •  Conserving natural resources,
  •   Improving working conditions.

The intention is to support the development of innovative, internationally competitive products, methods and services based on the latest scientific findings.

The programme includes support for:

  •  Research, development and demonstration projects that aim to make innovative technical and non-technical products ready for market,
  •  Projects to increase innovation, including knowledge transfer,
  •  Studies on general social and legal conditions for innovation and identification of future innovation areas.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

Changes in the climate will have a significant influence on weather in Central European regions. For example, they will affect the seasonal distribution of precipitation and sunshine. Weather influences are crucial for how crops grow and thrive.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

As part of supporting innovation, innovative projects in the areas of plant cultivation, livestock breeding and efficient irrigation will be supported.

Objectives of individual announcements:

  •  Guidelines for support of innovations to cultivate climate adapted crops: Weather influences are crucial for how crops grow and thrive. Changes in the climate will have a significant influence on weather in Central European regions. For example, they affect the seasonal distribution of precipitation and sunshine. Plant cultivation in Germany needs to remain competitive as climatic conditions change. As a result, precautionary strategies need to address the crops themselves. In addition, the export opportunities for German seeds will be improved, making a contribution to safeguarding global food supplies.

The productivity and stability of crops is determined to a large extent by the genome. Therefore, cultivation can make a crucial contribution to improving crops.

Innovations are required to make it easier to select plants as an initial material for this purpose. The required cultivation methods and procedures need to be available and shared so that findings can be incorporated into practical cultivation more quickly. To safeguard the range and quality of products in the long term, a framework needs to be put in place to provide crops under changing location conditions, improve tolerance and resistance to important biotic and abiotic stress factors, increase the efficiency of water and nutrient use and safeguard the quality features under changing climatic conditions.

  •  Guidelines for supporting innovations for efficient and sustainable management of water resources: Water is a fundamental factor in agriculture and in food production. Around 70 percent of global water consumption is used in agriculture. A rapidly growing global population, changing eating habits and the effects of climate change are leading to increasing worldwide demand for water and food.

Even in Germany, the water consumption per unit of food, which is required for primary production and, to an even greater extent, for processing, is considerable. Although the majority of climate scenarios forecast that annual precipitation in Germany will remain largely the same, a seasonal shift is expected in certain regions in the form of higher winter precipitation and reducing summer precipitation. Intensive production methods aimed at achieving a high yield level are gaining in attractiveness, thanks to the increased demand for agricultural raw materials for generation of bio energy and the expected rise in agricultural prices as a result. Irrigation of cultures that were previously hardly irrigated at all is becoming increasingly worthwhile. This will increase overall water consumption and intensity competition for water.

As a result, efficient use of water along the value chain from agricultural production through to the food industry is a key challenge. Developing new concepts and methods (including the use of satellite controlled technologies) to increase water productivity can simultaneously make a contribution to safeguarding global food supplies.

  •  Guidelines for supporting innovations for less resource intensive and lower emission production of animal products: Production of animal products is hugely important for German agriculture. This sector is characterised by a strong regional focus. Concentration of intensive businesses can lead to an economically advantageous infrastructure in the corresponding areas. However, livestock breeding also causes high emissions in some cases. These emissions can influence the soil and groundwater quality and lead to adverse effects for direct neighbours and local communities. Direct emissions from pens, from slurry pits and slurry processing are just some examples. Livestock breeding is also a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions.

Livestock breeding is a particular challenge in efficient agriculture that develops dynamically in terms of its sustainability. The gaseous, liquid and solid by-products that occur with livestock breeding need to be minimised, where possible used for something or brought into a condition in which they can be disposed of.

Implementing the federal government's sustainability strategy makes it necessary to find comprehensive location-specific and process based solutions in this area. Innovations can enable animal production to minimise its emissions and utilise them more efficiently. Incorporating these innovations into existing regional structures plays a major role. A sustainable increase in efficiency should also improve acceptance of livestock breeding in society.


Funding / Financing 

Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV);
Project ownership: Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE)


Federal Office for Agriculture and Food
Deichmanns Aue 29
D-53179 Bonn

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