New Dutch consortium agrees to develop Metropolitan Food Cluster

Gepubliceerd op
2 april 2014

The new dutch consortium has signed an agreement to join forces in reducing the emission of methane from dairy farming.

The dutch consortium, initiated by the Climate-KIC innovation project, Metropolitan Food Clusters for climate-proof agriculture by an increased resources use efficiency (MFC4CLIMAG), recently signed an agreement to join forces in reducing the emission of methane from dairy farming by adapting the so-called Metropolitan Food Cluster (MFC) concept, involving a more sustainable, low-emission stable design and a regional feed and manure centre.

The consortium was recently founded in the Venlo area in the south of the Netherlands. It currently consists of 16 partners, including Wageningen University & Research Centre, leading partner of the MFC4CLIMAG project, as well as several local agrarian businesses.

Proteins are an important component of food

The Venlo region in the South of the Netherlands is one of the two regions involved in the MFC4CLIMAG project. The farmers and agrarian businesses in this region are involved in the production of animal proteins, such as cattle and dairy farming.

According to MFC4CLIMAG project lead Gerben Mol, senior researcher at Wageningen University & Research Centre, proteins are “a very important component of our food. They add the necessary quality in the form of amino-acids, nutrients not delivered by staple foods such as rice, wheat or corn. The down side is that the production of animal protein often leads to large emissions to the environment, such as the methane emissions from dairy farming.”

Integrating production lines

In the MFC4CLIMAG-project the concept of Metropolitan Food Clusters (MFC) is being implemented in two demonstration areas, one near Venlo and the other near Berlin. “The MFC concept has been developed to realise a highly resource-efficient, low climate and environment impact and at the same time highly productive way of agricultural production. This means optimising logistics, such as creating agro-parks, and integrating the value chains of different agricultural production lines, which make as efficient re-use of waste streams as possible,” he says.

Sustainable and cost-effective

This new, integrated production method is not only less damaging to the environment,  but also holds a lot of economic promise. “Finding innovative ways to use waste streams such as methane or manure can lead to less waste and a decreased climate burden. At the same time this means a higher cost-effectiveness for the agro-businesses involved. An example is using the methane for energy production or heating. These functional connections should preferably be implemented close to where the waste is being produced. This can best be achieved in agro-business parks, where cooperation between various agro-entrepreneurs leads to the required waste volumes to make such solutions economically viable”, says project lead, Gerben Mol.