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Agriculture, on the way to protein autonomy

13 Dec 2021

Plan Protéines 2030: a national strategy for plant proteins

The Plan Protéines 2030 marks a real turning point, with the signing of a commitment charter between the industry and the public authorities. "This is the signal that we are entering a concrete plan, with precise objectives, a fixed course and formalized means. It is the first time that we have set a national ambition around protein sovereignty," said Gilles Robillard, President of Terres Inovia.

The objectives are ambitious: doubling the surface area of legumes by 2030, while keeping oilseeds at 2 million hectares. And producers' expectations are high. "It is essential to increase the independence of farms in the face of the risk of fertilizer shortages and their escalation on the markets. However, enhancing the natural nitrogen of legumes to make production more sustainable and environmentally friendly will help secure the income of producers," added the president of the institute.

Cap Protéines: operational solutions to increase protein sovereignty

To strengthen plant protein autonomy, the Protein Plan 2030 includes a research, development and innovation component: Cap Protéines. Launched for two years and coordinated by Terres Inovia and the Institut de l'élevage, it develops references, methods and tools for farmers and breeders. One of its objectives is to "lift the varietal lock by creating a varietal improvement dynamic in order to have varieties adapted to the different production areas, to the different pedoclimatic conditions, but also more resistant to better cope with climatic hazards," explained David Gouache, deputy director of Terres Inovia.

But that's not all. With the establishment of observatories and pilot territories, Cap Protéines supports farmers towards more agroecological systems. A way to fight against imports, especially of soybeans? "With an effort of innovation on the process, we are able to compete with imported oil cakes to produce protein-rich, made in France and more sustainable. It is this French excellence that Cap Protéines defends.

Another key objective of Cap Protéines is to increase the autonomy of farms. "We must increase their protein production, and in particular make better use of the 13 million hectares of grass, which means that each hectare can produce as much protein as a hectare of soybeans if it is well used," said Anne-Charlotte Dockès, head of the Breeders' Trades, Transfer, Impact and Society Department at the Institut de l'Élevage (Idele). Agronomic and zootechnical trials, but also experimental farms, are testing this protein autonomy in an innovative way.



Beyond the Protein Plan: avenues for reflection

Should we go further than the action program advocated by the Protein Plan? "This plan allows us to begin the protein transition by starting to reduce the amount of chemical nitrogen in crops, but it is not enough," said Pierre-Marie Aubert, coordinator at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). The objective is to triple the objectives of the Protein Plan to meet the needs of the population and to address environmental issues. The expert then recommended, in particular, a reinforced protection system and new customs regulations to reduce soybean imports by at least a third, and thus allow French producers to produce non-GMO soy locally.

And what about mirror measures, defended by the public authorities? "It is complicated to implement because it would require total traceability of soy production outside our borders.
The Protein Plan: a start to be consolidated

Should we go beyond the Protein Plan? Yes, we must "continue this effort beyond 36 months to create new balances and provide financial support for the industry over the long term in order to keep this objective of protein sovereignty as a national priority.

To see or review the round table


See the presentation of the round table in attachment.