To mark the United Nations’ World Pulses Day on 10 February, Donau Soja is reminding of the importance of these protein crops for ensuring food security for the European population, improving soils and stopping the deforestation of valuable ecosystems. In 2024, the motto of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is “Pulses nourishing soils and people”. The cultivation of pulses strengthens the structure of soils, microbial biodiversity and the resilience of soil ecosystems. This improves the nutrient cycle and reduces the use of fertilisers and pesticides in crop rotation. “If we increase the cultivation of pulses in Europe, we make ourselves more resilient to supply chain problems, enrich our soils and improve our health”, says Donau Soja President Matthias Krön. Donau Soja has developed a protein strategy to close the current protein supply gap in Europe.
Pulses are protein plants
Pulses (legumes) are the edible seeds of leguminous plants cultivated for food and include peas, chickpeas, faba beans, lentils and lupins. The protein plant with the highest protein content of around 40 % is the soybean, which botanically belongs to the legumes, but is also an oilseed. However, other pulses also have a high protein content and improve crop rotation.
For healthy people and a healthy environment
Growing pulses not only improves soils, protects forests and the climate, but their increased use in our kitchens also provides us with healthier vegetable protein. Pulses get their fertiliser from the air with special bacteria in the roots of the plants and therefore do not need artificial fertiliser.„Eating soya, peas and the like not only provides us with valuable plant-based nutrients and fibre, but also ensures a healthier environment”, says Krön. Donau Soja’s Protein Strategy for Europe pursues the increased cultivation of pulses, sustainable imports, better utilisation of other protein sources, greater efficiency in their use and promote more consumption of pulses.
Legume Hub and Legume Generation
Together with its partners, Donau Soja manages its own European platform for legumes, the „Legume Hub”. It contains extensive knowledge, numerous articles, experience reports, practices and tips for the production of plant-based protein products along the entire value chain. To reduce the European protein gap and increase the cultivation of legumes and pulses, Donau Soja is also part of the international consortium “Legume Generation”, which is supported by the EU and the United Kingdom.
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