Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    MEPs Call for Increase in Protein Production to Reduce EU Dependence on Imports

    Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted in favor of increasing protein production within the European Union (EU) to reduce the bloc’s reliance on imports. The vote, held during a meeting of the agriculture and rural development committee, saw MEPs approve a draft resolution on the European protein strategy. The majority agreed that supporting EU farmers in producing protein crops would enhance self-sufficiency.

    Currently, only 29% of the high-protein feedstock needed for animal feed originates from the EU, making the bloc heavily dependent on imports from other countries. The Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine have highlighted the need to diversify food and feed supply chains. Thus, the committee emphasized the importance of reducing the EU’s reliance on foreign suppliers.

    In order to achieve this, MEPs proposed various measures. They suggested providing assistance to farmers in converting protein crops into attractive products and supporting by-products from the processing of protein crops. Furthermore, MEPs called for the adoption of a comprehensive and ambitious protein strategy.

    The EU aims to adopt a protein strategy in early 2024. This move was prompted by EU leaders identifying increased plant-based protein production as a means of enhancing food security during a meeting in March 2022.

    MEPs also emphasized the need for incentives and policy measures to promote protein production. These include eco-schemes for legumes and grasslands, the creation of dedicated protein plant funds, and the possibility of growing protein-rich crops for food on set-aside land. Additionally, regulatory burdens and policy obstacles must be eased to improve farmers’ self-sufficiency.

    MEPs stressed the importance of utilizing manure products and food industry waste as substitutes for chemical fertilizers. In addition to bioenergy production, they called for the regulation of excess materials/waste from plant protein extraction, agricultural residues, and food production waste for bioenergy purposes.

    Furthermore, MEPs emphasized the necessity for further research and development into protein production and safety within the EU. They called for science-based and voluntary labeling that allows for the comparison of environmental footprints of food and feed.

    The draft resolution is expected to be put to a plenary vote in October, where it will undergo further scrutiny and discussion.

    – [Source 1]
    – [Source 2]