Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The future of legumes in Europe (#journal)

Legumes for feed, food, biomaterials and bioenergy in Europe: a review

Legume growing has many benefits; provision of plant proteins for animals and humans, fixation of atmospheric N2, cheap and green N fertilisers, diversification crops in rotations based on oilseed rape and cereals. Yet legume crops in Europe represent less than 4 % of arable lands. The authors show that legumes can contribute to the agroecological transition for sustainable agriculture, food and energy and for sustainable agri-food systems. However high added-value niche markets are required for supporting legume production. The major research needs identified are (1) analysing the constraints of the current systems and identifying ways of moving towards systems that include more legumes, (2) identifying new and diversified uses for legumes in a sustainable food chain, (3) assessing and improving the ecosystem services provided by legumes at cropping system and territory scales and (4) promoting agroecology through and for legume crop management.

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