Towards a sustainable plant protein and plant oil strategy for the EU

EESC opinion: Towards a sustainable plant protein and plant oil strategy for the EU

Key points


  • points out that, there are many good reasons to expand protein production in the EU and, in particular, to increase the role of grassland in feeding animals;
  • further highlights that expanding oil crop cultivation in the EU could also lead to positive impacts such as self-sufficiency in terms of tractor fuel, increased availability of oil cakes supply that have an excellent protein feed potential and increased crop rotations;
  • given the limiting factor of the agricultural area available, believes that there is an urgent need for the EU to carry out a study on the Europe-wide potential and land-share of protein and oil crops that could be grown within the EU;
  • considers that the European protein and oil strategy should also contribute to the sustainable development of rural areas in line with the EU long-term vision on rural areas;
  • recommends that the European Commission look more closely at the format of the process of the "Commission on the Future of Agriculture (ZKL)" set up by the German federal government, and consider whether it would also be appropriate for the development of a European protein strategy.
  • Recommends concrete suggestions for a protein strategy that also meets the objectives of strategic supply autonomy: 

fostering research and innovation in the area of plant-based proteins;

- developing and more strongly promoting protein potential in the EU;

- strengthening a sustainable domestic production of plant-based proteins;

- developing and expanding regional value chains and regional processing capacities;

- continuously collaborating with institutions and agricultural organizations;

- further increasing crop potential by improving and broadening breeding strategies;

- expanding education and advisory services and knowledge transfer;

- enabling and facilitating protein-crop production on ecological focus areas;

- more strongly linking livestock farming with regional feed potential

- consistently complying with existing limit values for pollution caused by emissions; internalising external costs;

- promoting particularly animal-friendly farming practices through consumer information and product labelling;

- setting standards for the imports of products competing with those produced in the EU;

- running an information campaign in parallel on the consequences that different dietary habits have on the environment and health.