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Wervel reminds European Parliament of protein deficit


21 Mar 2012


Agriculture & Food

The proposal of the European Commission to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) unfortunately left the problem of the European protein deficit totally unaddressed. Wervel therefore took the initiative to remind the European Parliament (EP) of their resolution of February 2011 in which they raised the problem. Together with a symbolic bag of local peas, a letter was handed over to the members and chairman of the agriculture committee in the EP. This letter was signed by farmers' organizations from different countries and asks for protein production in Europe to be stimulated for economic, agronomic and environmental reasons.

On March 20th 2012, a delegation from Wervel went to the European Parliament for a short discussion with the chairman of the Agriculture Committee Paolo de Castro. A hemp-bag filled with locally grown peas and decorated with a pod from the Gleditsia tree, symbolizing three European sources of protein was handed over to the members of the Agriculture Committee along with a letter.

In the letter Wervel and the other signatories refer to the resolution of February 4th 2011 of the European Parliament: "The protein deficit in the EU: what solution to a long-standing problem?". In this resolution the European Parliament denounces the yearly decline in the European protein crops stock and puts forward the benefits of reintegrating these crops. The letter from Wervel reminds the MEPs of the economic, agronomic and environmental benefits of European protein production and asks them to reaffirm their position on this matter and to amend the CAP proposals put forward by the European Commission to that effect.

Luc Vankrunkelsven: “Wervel has been putting the European protein deficit in the spotlight for more than twenty years". With this CAP proposal the European Commission misses an opportunity to recognise the value of local protein crops and thus to tackle the problematic protein dependency of Europe. Today, 70% of all vegetable protein consumed in Europe are imported, the major part is soy destined to feed European livestock. This has a hugely negative impact on the Latin American rural society and the environment. By producing protein crops locally, European farmers will also be less vulnerable to the extreme price volatility that dominates the world market."

Legumes (protein crops) fix air nitrogen that lowers the use of fertilizers and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Inclusion of legumes in crop rotation provides many agronomic and environmental benefits, such as improved soil structure and fertility and increased agrobiodiversity.

"We hope this letter will prompt the European Parliament to take action," concludes Vankrunkelsven. "Europe has big plans to make its production and consumption systems more sustainable. We believe that the cultivation of protein crops in Europe can make a significant contribution."

Read the letter with the signatories

Press Contact:

Jeroen Watte - communications and agro-ecology

+32 (0)484719541

Wervel vzw (Working Group for a Just and Responsible Agriculture)

26 Edinburgstraat

1050 Brussels


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