How can faba-bean cropping contribute to a more sustainable future European agriculture? Analysis of transition opportunities and barriers in Denmark

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The extensive use of soy-beans for fodder proteins within Denmark and the European Union in general are posing a serious environmental threat due to land-use changes and environmental degradation in South America
countries, where a large part of the soy-bean is being cultivated. An agricultural system consisting of monoculture, primarily wheat being dominant in Denmark, and massive utilization of ‘external’ resources like artificial N, pest and weed chemicals, fossil fuels usage, etc. are constantly fed into the system to sustain it. To increase the domestic production of fodder proteins in Denmark, and to benefit from the many Eco System Services that legumes provide, this paper investigates how this can be achieves. By adapting Gells Sociotechnical Transition (ST) theory on the Danish faba-bean production in a Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) - constituted by the ‘landscape’, ‘regime’ and ‘niche’ - an Analytical Framework is developed that facilitates an investigation of Transition Pathways’ for Danish agriculture adapting to more legumes (faba-bean) for protein
fodder instead of soy-bean import. The analysis reviles in which areas of the coherent (dominating) ‘regime’, that the Danish faba-bean ‘niche’ is challenging the existing ‘socio-technical system’. We identify important Champions at the three levels analyzed and suggest that various activities are taken at all levels addressed to promote the cultivation of faba-beans. Emphasis should for example be given to strengthen local farm networks to share knowledge and farm equipment for intensified faba-bean cultivation, and use as animal fodder (niche).
Besides this, university curriculum must be updated and increase farm advisors and farmer organization’s knowledge of leguminous crops, as to improve their advisory tasks, and hence harvest as many environmental benefits as possible when cultivated legumes (landscape). Besides this, stronger environmental regulation must be applied to facilitate a higher uptake of e.g. faba-beans. This could be a reintroduction of the ‘harmony rule’ between size of the farmland and the number of livestock to facilitate an adequate area of arable farmland to
become more self-sufficient in animal fodder (landscape). Seed and fodder companies could already now be more flexible to a changing ‘regime’, as they most likely would like to sustain their market shares, also in the future (regime).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production : Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption
EditorsJordi Segalas, Boris Lazzarini
Number of pages15
PublisherInstitute for Sustainability, Science and Technology. Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya-Barcelona (ISST-UPC)
Publication date6 Dec 2019
Article numberVol.1
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-09-16892-7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2019
EventThe 19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production; Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption. - ISST-UPC, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 15 Oct 201918 Oct 2019
Conference number: 15


ConferenceThe 19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production; Circular Europe for Sustainability
Internet address


  • Faba-Beans
  • Protein Feed
  • Danish Farmers
  • Transition Pathways
  • Tradition/Culture

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