Federal Minister Schmidt signs European Soy Declaration
Fourteen European ministers committed to growing more protein crops in their countries. The so-called European Soy Declaration was signed on the sidelines of the Agriculture Council in Brussels.
The initiative was launched by Federal Minister of Agriculture Schmidt and his Hungarian colleague and has been supported by eleven other agriculture ministers. In this declaration, the ministers of 14 European states undertake to cooperate in promoting the cultivation of protein crops (legumes such as soy, broad beans, peas and lupins, and clover species such as alfalfa). The signatories include Germany, Hungary, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Greece and Luxembourg.
The United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides the basis for reconciling global economic progress on the one hand with social justice and the planet's environmental limits on the other. In 17 goals, the 2030 Agenda calls upon the states of the world to end extreme hunger and poverty by 2030 and to conserve natural resources. These goals can only be reached by intensive cooperation through new global partnerships.
Pulses are of enormous importance for food security as they provide high-quality protein. We need this protein to follow a balanced diet ourselves, but we also need it as feed for our livestock. At the same time, the cultivation of pulses helps achieve a positive carbon balance, improves soil fertility and contributes to the sustainable use of biological and genetic diversity.
The European Soy Declaration thus makes an important contribution towards implementation of the goals of the 2030 Agenda and is a central component in the fight against hunger and poverty and in the conservation of natural resources.
The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) also launched the Protein-Crop Strategy. With this strategy, the ministry has supported the cultivation of pulses and the further development of production-related knowledge and skills in numerous projects since 2012. The BMEL advocates that the funds allocated to the Protein-Crop Strategy should be kept at the current level of € 6 million per year in the coming years. We have already seen the first signs of success: the area of land under pulses rose by an estimated 80,000 hectares between 2014 and 2016 and now amounts to around 188,000 hectares.
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