Launch Bean Deal in the Netherlands

Today, 56 Dutch organisations committed to the national Bean Deal, as this Green Deal Protein-Rich Crops was playfully named. The aim of the Bean Deal is to stimulate the cultivation, processing, and consumption of protein-rich crops in the Netherlands. This enhances the earning power of the farmers, contributes to the protein self-sufficiency, and adds to the sustainability of farming.

National Protein Strategy

The deal is part of the National Protein Strategy, which was launched in 2020 in the Netherlands and to enhance its protein self-sufficiency.

Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Staghouwer signed the Deal and is enthusiastic: 'By means of this Green Deal, we are putting our shoulders under a major challenge. It is now important that we turn our signs into deeds. Together with all parties, we can turn crop cultivation into a healthy economic model and valuable for soil and biodiversity.'

Bean Deal

The Deal was preceded by a broad stakeholder consultation which led to a focus on leguminous crops, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, a large and agriculturally important family of flowering plants for food. We are talking about beans and pulses, such as faba beans, lupine, soy and chickpeas, which can be used in pure or processed form in a wide variety of high-demand food products, or just plain on your plate.

This Bean Deal encompasses 43 efforts of parties along the entire chain, from farmers to caterers, and crop breeders right into the curricula of schools.

Marjolein Brasz, Managing Director of Foodvalley NL and Chairwoman of the Steering Committee of the Green Deal Protein-Rich Crops: 'Even working on this deal already catalysed changes along the chain. It made farmers unite, farmers work together with caterers, processors with retailers. And with great result: farmers united in a production organisation the Dutch Protein Farmers, a Dutch faba burger was introduced and a coalition between a small protein farmer and a diary giant got smitten'.

30 Years

In 1992 the EU government agreed upon acquiring access to the North American market by EU financial institutions, in exchange for giving up the production and trade of protein-rich crops. One day to the next, Dutch (and other European) farmers had no protection and faced an in advance lost challenge to compete with cheap and often less sustainably produced imports from outside the EU.

Henk Janknegt, Chairman of the Dutch Protein Farmers' Association and one of the signatories: ‘Many farmers are eager to grow these nitrogen-fixing crops, just like the farmers back then. We are aware of the value of rotational crops for soil, biodiversity, and yield-increase. But cultivation is still not economically sustainable. 30 Years after the Blair House Agreement, the Dutch growers hope that the Green Deal Protein-Rich Crops, in cooperation with the government and the chain, will make cultivation economically appealing again.’

Chain optimisation

Breeders such as KeyGene and Limagrain are also participating in the deal. Together with research and educational institutes such as the Louis Bolk Institute, Wageningen University & Research and Universities of Applied Sciences HAS and Aeres, they are working on the development of new varieties that thrive better on Dutch soil. They are also working on products that better meet the current needs of processors and consumers. An enhanced processing infrastructure requires long-term commitment; ideally, cultivation, processing and consumption are located close together. This deal is constructed for the next ten years, the least.

Consumer appreciation

The Bean Deal focuses on higher consumer appreciation and recognition. To this end, participating parties such as Rabobank, Compass Group, Hutten, Udea/Ekoplaza and the World Wildlife Fund encourage and simplify the inclusion of plant-based proteins on the menu for the Dutch society.

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