Together with regional farmers and food processors, we’ve managed to grow fresh soy beans for human consumption in the province of Flevoland.
From April 14th 2022, Almere (city in Flevoland) will be the stage for the Floriade Expo 2022 International Horticultural Expo for six months, with the theme Feeding and Healthying the city. In addition Flevoland will invest, prior to the Floriade, in a Growing Green Protein program. With the program we investigate the economic opportunities and challenges. We connect farmers, developers, entrepreneurs, researchers and educational institutions together to develop innovations, seize opportunities and break down barriers. So we can showcase the results on the Floriade Expo 2022 and be an example for other countries.
The way we are eating in our country is no longer sustainable. The amount of plant based protein we eat is too low and that which we eat is often imported. On the other hand the demand for plant based proteins is growing rapidly. In accordance with EU-goals we decided to stimulate growing green proteins for human consumption in our own province, by growing fresh soy beans for human consumption in the province of Flevoland.
We organised meetings to engage regional farmers and producers in the project which was supervised by two experts who made sure the project ran smoothly and on time. 10 regional farmers and 2 food processor companies worked together in this project. We stimulated food chain collaboration, provided a project supervisor and financed knowledge exchange. We used different kind of beans to learn which type grows best in our region. The farmers worked
In 2019 we’ve invested €50.000,00 which included hiring 2 experts, the development of a new business with a new brand and organized knowledge exchange. In 2020 we’ve invested another €50.000,00, to focus on a higher harvest yield, regional logistics/distribution plus sales in the Dutch supermarket.
Evidence of success
2019: 10 farmers and 2 food processors were willing to take the risk to experiment
- The harvest counted for 80 tons of organic soy beans (30 ha) and 6 tons of conventional soy beans (10 ha)
2020: 9 farmers and 2 food processors were willing to take the risk again
- The harvest counted for 28 hectares of soy beans.
- Edamame soy bean is suitable to grow in the Netherlands
- The market for organic soy appeared to be far better than the conventional soy
- The project will be continued
- Regional logistics and distribution
- The market for conventional soy is not appealing as well as for the organic soy
- Soy is an allergen, special attention is needed in chain collaboration
- Small areas (less than 2 ha) are not efficient
- Some of the equipment were not 100% suited
Potential for learning or transfer
The project is a successful example of how farmers and food processors can work collaborative in the production of fresh soy beans for human consumption. By experimenting together in how to grow soy beans in this climate resulted in useful information that Edamame are relatively easy to grow but small areas where not efficiently growing and logistic wise. The collaboration between the farmers went well, they shared their equipment to reduce costs and communicated flexibly about their experiences via WhatsApp. The first and second harvest were less succesful than expected. The project will be continued in the coming 2 years, focussing on higher yields and expanding the project throughout the Netherlands. Also there will be a focus on marketing and product development.
This project has a g
This project has a great potential of learning on growing soy beans in Europe and on how food chain collaboration is set up. An example how we can be less depended from soy produced outside Europe