As of last week, a historic collaboration between Denmark’s biggest farm association, Danish Agriculture & Food Council, with a majority of livestock producer-members, and their counterpart the Danish Vegetarian Association took place. The interest organizations have agreed on speeding up the agricultural transition into a more plant-based production
by Nicoline Noe
Around 13 million pigs and 1.5 million cows. The farming sector in Denmark is the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gasses and the main part comes from the production of livestock.
That is why The Danish Vegetarian association (DVF) and The Danish Agriculture and Food Council have teamed up with the green think tank Frej to take Danish farm production into a new direction.
“It isn’t enough to just cut the number of livestock to reduce emissions of methane. We also need to get a bigger plant-based food production going,” Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl, secretary general in DVF says. He points to the urgency of the agricultural sector taking part in the transition if climate and sustainability goals in Europe are to be achieved.
On that behalf The Danish Vegetarian Association took the initiative for a network with all the major actors within food and farming on future of plant-based proteins. After the first congress they were contacted by The Danish Agriculture and Food Council with a suggestion to make a collaboration.
“We didn’t see that coming. For many years danish agriculture has been sleeping in class. Internationally there has been massive investments in the plant-based area,” Dragsdahl establishes.
In a press release about the collaboration from the Danish Agriculture and Food Council CEO Anne Lawaetz Arhnung says that there is a both demand for plant-based food and a great potential, but that there are missing links in how to increase the production.
According to the Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl the Danish Vegetarian Association has the know-how and expertise to help the agriculture build up at bigger production of plants.
“If you over time need to have some of the farmers to produce less animal product, you need to begin with making production of plants attractive,” the secretary general points out.
In his opinion it has an enormous value that the heaviest farming organization states that Denmark has the potential to become a plant-based superpower. It could even effect political parties, that have been hesitant to embrace the green transition.
So far eight suggestions for the development-strategy of plant-based food have come out of the collaboration. According to Dragsdahl they do not know what the next step is, yet. They are waiting to see what kind of response comes from the parliament and ministries, where they have now been invited for meetings on the topic.
The Danish Vegetarian Association is buzzing with projects
This month The Danish Vegetarian Association have announced yet another broad collaboration ‘Fra foder til føde’ meaning from feed to food.
The union consists of no less than six major organizations counting The Danish Society for Nature Conservation and Animal Protection Denmark and they have produced a report on how to reorganize agriculture.
According to the report this sector produces more than 30 percent of the Danish emissions of greenhouse gasses. This points to the reality that it takes a transition from producing feed for animals to producing food for humans if Denmark wants to honor the climate goals set by the government.
Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl, secretary general, Danish Vegetarian Association, Contacted on the press phone number: 50561817
Press release on the collaboration: https://lf.dk/aktuelt/nyheder/2020/november/landbrug-og-foedevarer-vegetarisk-forening-og-frej-med-faelles-plan
The Green peace report on emission from livestock used in the video: https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-eu-unit-stateless/2020/09/20200922-Greenpeace-report-Farming-for-Failure.pdf
The report ‘Fra foder til føde’ by DVF and five other organizations https://rgo.dk/wp-content/uploads/fra-foder-til-foede.pdf
The Danish Agriculture and Food Council failed to respond on questions for this article.