Within the framework of the joint project "Protein Paradoxa" of the Leibniz Research Alliance "Sustainable Food Production and Healthy Nutrition", a 3-day workshop on the future of protein production took place at FBN in the last week of May. The project "Protein Paradoxa" serves in particular to promote postdocs and young scientists, who are given the opportunity to discuss thematically overarching issues and to develop solutions and research approaches through a series of workshops and events as part of this project.
Young scientists from different Leibniz Institutes and partner institutions discussed scientific issues with international guest scientists in an innovative, interdisciplinary approach. The conference centre of the Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN) in Dummerstorf offers an excellent infrastructure for this.
Irrigation, self-sufficiency and organic farming were discussed in extreme scenarios in order to sound out the performance and limits of current protein production in view of increasing demand from a growing world population and limited production due to the problems of climate change and scarcity of resources.
What if only organic farming is allowed in the EU? What would the agricultural landscape look like without irrigation? And what happens if a region has to supply itself? Initially, the focus was on assessing the current status quo. Where is irrigation used in Europe and with what? Are there uniform definitions for organic farming? How much agricultural land is needed per capita and year to meet current food requirements?
The discussions were controversial and the scenarios were considered in many different ways due to the interdisciplinary field of participants. The possible positive and/or negative effects of the three selected scenarios with regard to production, environment and consumers as well as possible solutions and their feasibility were also discussed. In addition to climate change, the finite nature of resources such as water, soil and biodiversity, as well as social acceptance and social consequences, including for rural areas, are critical factors for securing protein supply in the future. The results of this intensive and successful workshop will be published promptly in a peer-review journal.
Foto (FBN): The participants of the workshop