The government and the agricultural sectors pledged on Tuesday to work to increase by 40% in three years the areas devoted to the cultivation of plants rich in proteins such as lentils, rapeseed or alfalfa, in order to reduce dependence on imported soybeans, especially from Brazil.

This is an "intermediate objective", detailed the Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie at a press conference. An objective of "doubling the cultivated area " in ten years had already been set.

"Today we have a million hectares" devoted to the cultivation of oilseeds (rapeseed, sunflower, flax) and legumes (soybeans, peas, field beans, lentils ...) ", he said. Over the next three years, this area must therefore increase by 400,000 hectares, before reaching 2 million hectares by 2030.

The agricultural sectors are committed to it via a "charter", specified the Minister, within the framework of which the State "puts on the table", in parallel, a protein plan credited with more than 100 million euros, mainly financed through the recovery plan. This protein plan is thought to be "an important brick" in the "edifice of the revival in terms of agrifood sovereignty", declared Mr. Denormandie.

France depends for half on vegetable protein imports for livestock feed

Today, France depends for half on imports of vegetable proteins for livestock feed. However, we find in particular transgeic soybeans , from the United States or Brazil, where it is singled out for its role in deforestation. France made a commitment in 2018 to put an end by 2030 to deforestation linked to the import of unsustainable agricultural or forestry products.

The plant protein plan will be able in particular to help finance "tools for the production, storage and distribution" of legumes , seed purchases by breeders in order to increase the protein density of fodder, or even varietal research.

"A more modest budget (3 million euros) is intended to promote the consumption of pulses, in particular by children, in accordance with nutritional recommendations."

This plan was expected by the agricultural world, almost two years after Emmanuel Macron announced, at the 2019 agricultural fair, wanting to "bring an ambitious protein plan to the scale of the" European continent , and thus get out of the old balance induced by a trade agreement negotiated in the 1960s, which attributed the production of vegetable proteins ( soya , rapeseed) to the Americas and that of starch ( wheat , cereals ) to Europe.

With AFP .

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