Reducing the European Union’s plant protein deficit: Options and impacts

The EU has a historical deficit of plant protein and is therefore heavily reliant on imports to sustain domestic livestock production. Using an economic model of global agricultural markets, this article investigates three policy drivers that could have an influence on the increased production of protein-rich crops in the EU, namely coupled payments for protein rich crops, investment in research and development leading to higher yields, and  phasing out of imported high indirect land-use change risk biofuel feedstocks. Results indicate that a one % annual increase in yields over the medium-term has a much larger effect on EU domestic protein production than additional coupled payments of EUR 75/ha. Moreover, phasing out palm-based biodiesel only has a small impact on the protein self-sufficiency. A major unknown, is how costly it will be to increase the yields on protein crops grown in the EU.

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