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Case study 19: Sweden: Local legumes – collaboration within the whole value chain

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

Growing grain legumes in the cropping systems can provide several agronomic and environmental benefits. In addition, locally produced grain legumes have the potential to increase farmer’s income (premium price), develop new businesses and reduce the import of long distance-transported grain legumes for human consumption in Sweden. Despite this, grain legumes, except for yellow pea and brown beans, are not commonly grown for human consumption, and a lot of the legumes and legume products sold in food stores in Sweden are imported. The objective is therefore to engage and strengthen the links between various stakeholders (farmers, value chain actors, advisors, researchers, NGOs, consumer’s organisations, etc.) in a participatory process to find ways to increase the production and consumption of Swedish-produced grain legumes in Sweden.

What are the main problems underlying the emergence of the case study?
Incorporating grain legumes in the current cropping system in both time and space will lead to more diversified systems, which have the potential to provide agronomic, economic, environmental and (consumers’) health benefits. Despite these benefits, the current agricultural systems in Sweden is heavily based on cereal sole cropping and external inputs. Furthermore, a lot of the legumes and legume products sold in Sweden originate from far off countries which are transported over a long distance.

How is the problem addressed and which actors are involved?
The case study team is composed of dedicated and well-motivated actors who want to promote locally produced grain legumes, mainly for human consumption but not forgetting protein sources for animal feed. Through a series of common workshops and other forms of interaction (telephone and face-face to personal meeting) the participants identify the barriers and opportunities, formulate the vision and mission of the case study, devise action plans and engage actively in adopting and spreading the objectives of the case study.

The case study team is currently comprised of advisors, farmers, researchers (from three institutes), two grain legume trading companies (Nordisk Råvara and Kalmar Ölands Trädgårdsprodukter), a local food co-operative shop (Matkooperativet Helsingborg), a non-profit environmental organisation (The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) and a food consultant. The case study team is constantly trying to include more actors and as it progresses, the team will grow.

Solution investigated
There is a mutual interest among the various actors for collaboration and establishing stronger links. Establishing links among the case study actors will be important for legume businesses to develop, for communicating the research and development results, and for motivating and creating awareness to consumers and policy makers.

Expected outcome
Our vision is that in 10 years, in most meals, consumed at home or outside, people enjoy flavors of nearby-produced grain legumes.

This will be achieved through a strong link between various stakeholders (academia, value chain actors, consumers and environmental organizations, culinary experts, public media and policy makers) working towards rapid increase in the production and consumption of Swedish-produced grain legumes.

Relevance to the DiverIMPACTS goals
The case study involves various stakeholders (in the value chain and in the society) to promote grain legume production in Swedish agricultural system, which is dominated by sole cropping of cereals. It will lead to the contribution of several environmental services and benefits, develop local food systems and strengthen the links between various societal actors.


  • Anita Gunnarsson, Hushållningssällskapet Skåne, case study leader
  • Raj Chongtham, SLU, case study monitor