The current demand for biobased raw materials from non-food crops in Europe is much larger than the availability, impeding growth of the biobased economy. The PANACEA Network aims to enable European agriculture to produce more non-food crops. Cooperation and knowledge sharing between research institutes, industry and agriculture can accelerate the growth of the biobased economy.
Major opportunity for non-food crops
Non-food crops offer considerable market opportunities for European agriculture as they can be used for a wide range of sustainable, biobased products. Examples include polymers, lubricants and construction materials as well as medicines, bio-energy and bio-fuels. The raw material demands of the biobased industry are already substantial and will continue to grow, while availability from European agriculture is lagging behind. This is partly because the chains in the link are not adequately connected, while restrictive legislation & regulations and insufficient investment stimuli also play a part. As a partner in the PANACEA Network, Wageningen University & Research is looking to significantly boost production of European non-food crops.
PANACEA Network initiatives
The PANACEA Network hopes to stimulate promising initiatives in various ways. For example, the network demonstrates the potential for agriculture and industry, and makes an inventory of scientifically founded applications which are (almost) ready to be embraced by the market. A key component of the project is to establish multi-actor communities in 10 European countries, including the Netherlands, where science, industry and agriculture work together to bring innovative applications into practice. Other activities of the PANACEA Network involve training courses (for farmers, agronomists and students) and an online platform for knowledge sharing and matching supply & demand. The network is linked to other initiatives such as EIP-AGRI, the European innovation platform for economically profitable and sustainable agriculture and forestry.