A total of 9.5 thousand hectares are dedicated to the cultivation of protein-rich crops in the Netherlands. These crops are grown for human consumption, as animal feed or as green manure. They are currently receiving a great deal of attention because of the role they fulfil in the food transition (towards more plant-based proteins in diets) and in circular agriculture (home-grown protein for concentrates).
In the Netherlands, soybeans and lupins are cultivated mainly for human consumption, for example as raw material for meat substitutes. Field beans and field peas are cultivated to be used as forage crops.
|Alfalfa (ha)||Field beans (ha)||Field peas (ha)||Soybeans (ha)||Sweet lupins (ha)|
|* Provisional figures|
Protein crop area predominantly alfalfa
Protein-rich crops take up approximately 0.5 percent of the Netherlands’s total agricultural area. This is mainly dedicated to alfalfa, although it has become smaller for several years. In 2022, the acreage stands at 6.7 thousand hectares, i.e. 8 percent less than one year previously. Alfalfa is used as forage and as green manure.
More cultivation of field beans and lupins
The area for field beans and lupins did increase in size. In 2022, acreage dedicated to field beans has grown by 538 to 2,020 hectares, i.e. an increase of 36 percent. The area used for sweet lupins has expanded from 84 hectares in 2021 to 120 hectares this year (+42 percent).
Soybean area in EU member states virtually unchanged
Across the European Union as a whole, the area for soybeans has hardly changed. In 2021, the acreage dedicated to soybeans in the EU covered 940 thousand hectares. This was still 941 thousand hectares one year previously.
|Soybean cultivation area (x 1,000 ha)|
The EU aims to reduce its dependence on soy imports by boosting cultivation within the Union, for instance. Soy is currently predominantly cultivated in Italy, France and Romania with areas of 285, 154 and 139 thousand hectares respectively.