Researchers aim to make Flemish chickpea economically viable
Scientists are researching how it might be possible to make growing chickpeas economically viable in Flanders. Today, the chickpea, which has its origins in the Mediterranean, is grown mainly in France, Canada, Turkey and Spain. The cost of Flemish-grown chickpeas is much higher than the global market price, mainly because it is currently only grown on a very limited scale.
On Tuesday, researcher Elena Lievens of the Artevelde University of Applied Sciences in Ghent reports that a field with locally sown chickpeas is showing hopeful results. "Whereas last year's crop largely failed due to the wet summer, this year we seem to be headed for a good harvest", she says. "We want to investigate very concretely the willingness of the chain and the consumer to switch to a Flemish chickpea."
The research is important because chickpeas contain a lot of protein. The current model of protein production and consumption is under pressure worldwide, due to concerns about food security, health and environmental impact.
The local chickpeas are grown by farmer Thomas Truyen, the first grower of chickpeas in Flanders, and will be processed into local chickpea products by several Belgian food processing companies. Supermarket chain Delhaize will then research in a number of supermarkets how customers react.
The research is important because chickpeas contain a lot of protein. The current model of protein production and consumption is under pressure worldwide, due to concerns about food security, health and environmental impact. The Flemish government wants to achieve a shift with 3,5 million euros: the ratio of animal versus vegetable proteins on our plates must change from 60/40 to 40/60.
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