The road map for legumes

Our webinar drew joint lessons from the TRUE-LegValue policy-relevant studies.

From the beginning of the TRUE project, we seek to initiate a rethinking of how “policy understanding” can help to transform our food system to be more resilient, in this case, more legume-based.

Eszter Kelemen (as moderator) from ESSRG introduced the session, then Chris de Visser, the Business Development Unit Manager of the Wageningen University Research talked about two of the four LegValue scenarios that proved to be helpful in moving towards legume-based food and feed systems.  Bálint Balázs gave a talk on the legume paradox and potential policy changes. Max Schulman (Copa Cogeca), Emese Brosz (ProTerra) and Eva Milz (German Legume Demonstration Network) reflected on the talks before the roundtable discussion. The conclusions were drawn by Liz Lewis-Reddy (RSK ADAS Limited) pointing out the need for more integrative policy approaches.



Some of the key components of a favourable governance setting that enjoy the support of stakeholders:

1. Reduction of inorganic N fertilizer to increase cultivation of legumes.  It is not clear, though, to what extent, this will create an impact on the consumption of legumes.

2. R&D, extension and knowledge transfer for agroecological farming. Investment in research and development, agricultural extension services and knowledge transfer is pretty much necessary for a smooth transition from high use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in conventional agriculture to precision farming and agricultural farming.

3. The climate policies increase legume production and consumption on a large-scale. Climate mitigation and adaptation strategies will be needed to combat climate change that can have very positive effect on legume production and consumption.

4. Health and nutrition policies are important and need also bottom up approaches. If implemented on a large scale and effectively, policies that tackle, nutrition, health and diet are also relevant for the increase of legume consumption, and indirectly legume production. However, consumption preferences, culinary traditions and cultural habits are difficult to change only by top down approaches.

5. More citizen-led initiatives about co-benefits needed. Support for citizen led initiatives that inform and educate the public on environmental and health benefits a legumes of consumption.

6. The CAP needs to be reoriented. Policies that directly tackle production and farming strategies for example via the greening payments with other agro ecological and rural development initiatives, the Common Agricultural Policy are still unavoidable. Support for ecological food production and protection of the natural environment and the farm is a key component for the creation of any positive externalities.

7. Change in trade agreements is difficult, and not much advocated. Trade agreements are part of the complex web of interconnected world economy. Any intervention will have repercussions along the legume food chains. Therefore, this possibility is not much advocated by the stakeholders.