Svalbard Global Seed Vault

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Sustainable Nordic protein production, Nordic bio-economy


In this project we aim to address the main challenges related to Sustainable Nordic protein production.  The outcomes of the project will be:

  1. Overview and analysis of current status and future prospects on protein crops and protein supply in the Nordic food and feed industry. Recommendation from a focus group will determine targets for future projects.
  2. Field based screening of NordGen accessions of selected target species for protein production to identify superior lines. In addition, multiply seeds for distribution to researchers, pre-breeders and breeders.
  3. Linking results from analysis and screenings to stakeholders (farmers associations, research, breeding and feed-industry)


The past ten years protein crop production within the EU has declined dramatically leading to a dependence on imported protein. Protein crop production in the EU  today occupies only three percent of arable land, whereas imported protein crops represents 80% of protein consumption. The protein deficit is due to international trade agreements (GATT, Blair House Agreement) which allowed the EU to protect cereal production but in return allowed for duty free imports of oilseed and protein crops.

Protein crops can be divided into (A) grain legumes/pulses (where peas, beans, fava beans, lentils, and soybeans are the most important crops) that are used as human food and/or in feed for livestock and fish farming, and (B) fodder legumes (where red clover, white clover and lucerne/alfalfa are most important). In protein fodder concentrates, soy bean is the most largely used ingredient. A sustainable Nordic protein production is possible, but requires increased research, pre-breeding and breeding activities, and cooperation between stakeholders, including farmers associations, research institutes, the breeding- and feed-industry.

Workshop November 2014

A workshop was organised in November 2014 bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders involved in plant protein production >>

Funding for the initial phase of the project has 
been received from the Nordic Council of ministers.
Sidansvarig:  Anna Palmé

Pisun sativum arvense NGB20117_3

Pisum sativum var. arvense

Photographer: Lisa Ekberg
Free to use for any purpose
Please acknowledge the photographer


Svein Ø Solberg:

Anna Palmé:

Jan Svensson: