Lawmakers within the European Parliament’s agriculture committee proposed a roadmap to deal with the shortage of strategic autonomy in proteins, as greater than two-thirds of the EU’s plant proteins are imported.
Learn the unique French story right here.
A “international” and “bold” protein technique for the EU is required to strengthen the bloc’s strategic autonomy within the subject of proteins whereas selling the ecological transition, in accordance with an own-initiative report adopted by MEPs of the Agriculture and Rural Growth Committee on Tuesday (19 September).
The pandemic and the battle in Ukraine have uncovered the EU’s dependence on third nations, as barely 30% of plant proteins, primarily utilized in animal feed, at the moment are produced in Europe, whereas the figures for soybeans are even bigger, with 90% coming from Brazil or the US.
This example is the results of a long-term coverage that started within the Sixties with the signing of the Dillon Spherical Settlement, which allowed the US to export oilseeds, and specifically soya, to Europe duty-free.
At a gathering in Versailles in March 2022, EU leaders made it a precedence to extend protein manufacturing in Europe to strengthen the continent’s meals sovereignty.
Pressured by member states and MEPs, the Fee rapidly got here up with a worldwide protein technique for 2022, which was unveiled a yr later on the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris when France introduced its personal ‘plant protein’ technique.
Manufacturing and diversification of proteins
Of their report, which isn’t legally binding, the MEPs name on the Fee to assist farmers “convert their crops” and improve yields and protein high quality.
Of their view, elevated manufacturing needs to be achieved by sustaining the cultivation of set-aside land subsequent yr, when the derogation granted due to the battle in Ukraine is because of expire in 2024.
Committee members additionally confused the significance of protein diversification, notably by way of the event of different proteins (microbial, insect and algae-based).
Nevertheless, the report does exclude “cell meals” or artificial proteins, whether or not for human or animal consumption, that are a part of Novel Meals (meals which has not been consumed “considerably” since 1997), in accordance with centrist MEP Irène Tolleret (Renew), who voted in favour of the textual content.
“This doesn’t keep in mind the environmental, water and power affect of those merchandise. We’re not towards it, however the precautionary precept applies,” she instructed Euractiv France.
Independence, local weather and power
Along with selling meals sovereignty, MEPs level out that feeding livestock with regionally produced proteins promotes brief provide chains and thus helps to fight local weather change.
“Member states ought to, due to this fact, take into account introducing natural programmes for legumes and grasslands and creating funds for protein crops,” the MEPs mentioned.
Legumes, which use little fertiliser and are recognized to seize nitrogen and return it to the soil, are additionally “on the coronary heart” of the EU’s Farm to Fork, the agricultural model of the European Inexperienced Deal.
MEPs are additionally calling for the creation of a “scientific and voluntary label” to match the environmental footprint of meals and feed.
One other profit, in accordance with the report, is that legume waste may be reused to make fertiliser and biogas.
EU lawmakers, due to this fact, urge the Fee to suggest a regulation “on the usage of secondary streams from the extraction of plant proteins, agricultural residues and waste streams from meals manufacturing for the manufacturing of bioenergy”.
A “pragmatic and impressive” technique
“This technique respects the agricultural cloth, helps cut back greenhouse gasoline emissions and strengthens our sovereignty, all whereas creating jobs,” mentioned Tolleret, who described the technique as “pragmatic and impressive”.
Nevertheless, in accordance with German MEP and rapporteur Maria Noichl (S&D), there’s an pressing want to finish the huge import of soy from South America, which contributes to “groundwater contamination by pesticides, soil erosion, water shortage and deforestation, to not point out the unfavourable social and well being penalties […]”.
“Towards intensive livestock farming, we name for an motion plan to extend the manufacturing and consumption of plant proteins,” she concluded in a press launch.
The draft decision might be put to a plenary vote, most likely in October. The European Fee has introduced its intention to undertake a European protein technique in early 2024.
[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]
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