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56 chain partners sign ‘Bean Deal’ on Protein Crops at Floriade Expo

18 July 2022

By signing the Green Deal on Protein-rich Crops at Floriade Expo 2022 on 14 July, a next step has been taken towards a more sustainable future. In the presence of Henk Staghouwer, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries, 56 chain partners signed this cooperation agreement. The partners went public under the name ‘Bean Deal’.

The Green Deal is part of the National Protein Strategy launched in 2020. The goal is to increase the Dutch self-sufficiency level. The advantages are less dependence on foreign countries and shorter chains. Protein-rich crops such as lupin, field beans, soya and peas fit the goal of eating more vegetable protein. Furthermore, these crops can very well be grown in the Netherlands. Another advantage of these leguminous plants is that their roots fix nitrogen and convert it into nutrients for themselves.

Useful crop and a good revenue modelAccording to Minister Staghouwer, this connection is reflected in the connection between the Bean Deal partners. “With this Green Deal, we are taking on a major challenge. Now it is important that we turn our signatures into deeds. Together, we can turn a risky crop into a good business model and a useful crop for soil and biodiversity.”

Everything you pay attention to, will growEverything you give attention to, grows Marjolein Brasz, director of Foodvalley NL, expressed the wish that we as a chain – from breeder, grower and processor to research, education and caterer – “let all leguminous plants fly again”. She sees that it can be done, when looking at the energetic group Protein Farmers of the Netherlands and Albert Heijn’s Fababurger. “Everything you give attention to, will grow.” Green Deal initiator Jeroen Willemsen and dealmaker Emmo Meijer shared this hope by stating that protein-rich crop is making a comeback. Thirty years ago, the legume almost disappeared entirely because of the abolition of EU protection. It is precisely the many sustainable advantages that are now playing into the crop’s hands. The power of chain cooperation strengthens that process.

He who sows, shall reapField bean and lupin growers like to cultivate these ‘vibrant’ crops, but at the same time strive for a fair revenue model. To this end, cooperation in the chain is essential. “But he who sows, shall reap”, grower André Jurrius analysed the importance of telling the protein story. Or, “What goes around comes around”, as grower Joris Baecke put it. In the end, it is up to the consumer to take the bait, but the guiding choice can also be made by retail, the hospitality industry and caterers. Peter van den Bosch of Hutten Catering sees it as his responsibility. The Bean Deal partner serves more and more dishes based on less meat and more vegetable protein.

Both for chain partner and consumerJan-Nico Appelman, Provincial Executive member for Flevoland and Green Deal steering committee member, is delighted that so many partners in the chain are committing to the Bean Deal. According to him, sustainable production within the chain goes hand in hand with healthy consumer foods. The Protein Showcase at the Floriade is a good showcase for this. At the same time, the policy maker sees points of attention: in addition to a broader involvement of the retail market, a more level playing field at the EU level would give the Dutch grower a fairer earnings model. According to Appelman, the flywheel has been set in motion by signing the agreement; now the implementation requires all the attention it can get. For the time being, there are 43 ‘efforts’ from various chain partners on the agenda. The participants are highly motivated: “We simply cannot do it alone; only together can we put high-protein crops back on the map.”

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