Leguminous crops such as beans, peanuts and soya not only provide nutritious food, but they also fix nitrogen from the atmosphere with the aid of Rhizobium bacteria. This improves the fertility of the soil. Legumes are very nutritious and are an outstanding meat replacement. Wageningen UR conducts research into the cultivation of leguminous crops, both in the Netherlands and abroad.
Wageningen University & Research is working together with international research and development organisations to improve nitrogen fixation in African agriculture as part of the project N2Africa. This project started in 2009 and was initially financed by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At the end of 2013, the Foundation provided additional funding of €18.6 million for the second phase of the project.
In the Netherlands, soya can also be grown organically. Because soya provides its own nitrogen, the crop is interesting for organic farming.