Case study 18: Belgium: Grain legumes intercropping with cereal in organic systems

Cluster 4: Diversification through intercropping, with a special focus on grain legumes

Farmers are looking for added values where consumers are looking for more local products. There is a need for a match between local producers and buyers, farmers and food processors.
This calls for small scaled initiatives with some farmers, a local intermediate processor and a local final processor mostly for local consumption. The intention is to work on this type of chain, as this gives most opportunities to added value.

What are the main problems underlying the emergence of the case study?
The farmers are looking for added value, whereas consumers are looking for more local products. There is a need for a match between local producers and buyers, farmers, and food processors, mostly on a local and small-scale level. This calls for small-scale initiatives with some farmers, a local intermediate processor, if needed, and one local final processor, mostly for local consumption. The intention is to work on this type of chain, as this gives most opportunities for added value.
Added to this, technical issues such as agronomical challenges, sorting, storing, and processing shall be addressed.

How is the problem addressed and which actors are involved?
There have been many different initiators: on the one hand, some farmers looking for added value and/or diversification of the cereal crop, and on the other hand, local processors (e.g. vegetarians) that are interested in local sourcing as new interest comes from consumers for local, organic, and authentic products.
Inagro and Bioforum Flanders (BF VL), acting as facilitators, are well-known actors in organic farming and are working together in participatory and applied research and in farmers' networks on arable and dairy farming.

Solution investigated
An integrated local chain approach (farmers, millers, bakeries, processors, consumers) for chainwide added value in organic farming systems is desired.
Reasons for intercropping are problems arising in pure crops of peas such as lodging, birds (pigeons), and weeds. For fava bean crops, weeds are the main problem. Intercropping is also good for the wheat quality through increased protein content without using external input of, e.g. blood meal.

Expected outcome
The project will strengthen the way of working, especially on how to make the participatory approach visible for the outer world.
Within the cluster, it will be good to exchange experiences from other case studies in the cluster, e.g. when it comes to solve lock-ins.

Contact

  • Lieven Delanote, INAGRO, case study leader
  • An Jamart, BioForum, case study monitor