Using the timing of the health and economic crisis and the recovery plan to influence the right allocation of resources to a key agricultural sector (vegetable protein from legumes) constitutes:

  • a key issue for the environment;
  • a nutritional issue;
  • a challenge to reduce France's (and Europe's) dependence on protein-rich materials; 
  • a potential for job creation with the deployment of legume sectors.

Key Messages

  • The "protein transition" supported by the French stimulus plan can generate multiple benefits on several levels: environmental (reduction of direct emissions related to the application of mineral fertilizers); health (reduced consumption of animal products); geopolitical/strategic (reduction of soybean imports); socio-economic (job creation in the agri-food industry sector).
  • Given the lack of competitiveness of French legumes against imports, investments must simultaneously target 5 dimensions of the organisation of the sectors: coordination of players and structuring of markets to broaden production outlets; varietal R&D, development of agronomic solutions and advice to farmers; agricultural equipment for the development of field crops, particularly organic, given the SNBC objectives for 2030 (26% of land area); industrial equipment for collection/storage/processing downstream; changes in consumer practices to (i) increase the use of legumes for human consumption, (ii) promote the "willingness to pay" for animal production in which the substitution of imported soybeans will lead to additional production costs.
  • The envelope provided for in the recovery plan is less than the needs in material investments at the level of production/processing. It must be accompanied by two sets of complementary measures: market organisation measures to, at least temporarily, protect French industries from international competition and thus enable their development; and incentives for private investment by industry players (taxation, CAP subsidies, etc.), in order to foster a stable market environment in which economic players are convinced that they can be competitive.

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