► A range of crop and management strategies might be combined for a specific target environment in order to optimize crop productivity. These combinations can then be used as a guidance to future decision support systems for crop production at limited water supply under arid Mediterranean conditions. ► Yield increases and stability may arise from selection for early vigour, deep roots, increased transpiration efficiency, improved disease resistance, and high assimilate storage and remobilization. ► Introduction of drought and salt tolerant crop species as quinoa as amaranth may result in more resilient crop rotations and high value cash crop products. ► Solutions to create climate proof cropping systems in the arid Mediterranean region, which is predicted to suffer from increasingly severe droughts in the future due to climate changes, are discussed.