Farming future is full of beans

Pulses and other legumes have a bright future, both for farmers who want to grow a sustainable, diverse rotation, and for consumers seeking a versatile, protein-rich food with multiple health benefits, it was claimed yesterday.

And a wider adoption of these crops, which have lower fertiliser requirements than other crops as they can fix their own nitrogen, would fit with the desire of Scottish and UK governments to adopt a greener approach to farm policy, according to Roger Vickers, chief executive of the Processors Growers and Research Organisation, the UK’s centre of excellence for pea and bean crops.

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“Legume research, innovation and trade is small compared to many other crop types and reflects relatively low current commercial values and investments surrounding legume crops,” said Vickers who called on growers to sign up to a new initiative to share information and spread understanding of the growing of these minority crops.

As part of a Europe-wide legume initiative UK pulse growers can participate in a series of webinars exploring the global opportunities, barriers and success stories of legume production which will kick off in April.The project will be delivered by experts from across Europe with the aim of unlocking the potential for greater production across the globe, said Vickers.

They include proposals for the creation of a producer Network promote the crops by linking industry with researchers, policy makers, civic organisations, brokers/traders and consultants throughout Europe and wider afield.