Fostering agro-ecological transition though environmental engagement along the value chain – insights from the CONSOLE project

Authors: Tania Runge*, Thuenen Institute, Nicole Nefzger, FiBL Germany, Katharina Meyer, FiBL Germany
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Food Systems, Land Use
Keywords: value chain; collaboration; water protection; regional products
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 12
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Adoption of innovative agro-ecological practices by farmers often requires support through incentive payments. Besides the use of public funds, increasing attention is given to value chain approaches where the farmer is paid by the market for his efforts. Farmers delivering environmental benefits connected to production get a premium price. Such products are often specifically labelled and connected to regional particularities. While many of the European initiatives are retail driven, there are also examples of bottom-up collaboration along the whole value chain from producers to consumers. A particular case for such a value chain approach is the Bavarian water protection wheat for bakery purposes where public water suppliers, mills and regional bakeries collaborate with farmers. Usually quality wheat production is characterised by high levels of nitrogen application, including a late fertilization in order the reach a high protein content currently rewarded by the market. This leads to nitrogen surpluses and the risk of nutrient leaching into water. In Bavaria, Germany, farmers are encouraged to grow new wheat breeds with good baking properties without late fertilisation. They are paid for their harvest the price of quality wheat as the flour processed out of these grains can be used for bakery regardless its lower protein content. By buying such bakery products consumers do not only contribute to water protection, reduced fertilisation also benefits the climate. A widespread implementation would not only require adaptation of management practices at farm level, but also modification of the current standardized pricing system which is protein content based.

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