Cows in Lower Saxony: "Farmers are getting into it."
Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance / dpa
Farmers' President Joachim Rukwied does not see the trend towards vegan nutrition as a threat to German farmers, but as an opportunity.
"It's us farmers who grow the raw materials for the substitute products," he told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung." That applies, for example, to legumes such as chickpeas, which are then processed into meat substitutes.
According to Rukwied, many farmers have already started cultivation or are planning to do so.
Local raw materials could also be processed into “trendy foods”.
At the same time, the demand for meat is declining slightly, but remains high: nine out of ten Germans continue to eat meat.
The Secretary General of the German Farmers' Association, Bernhard Krüsken, also sees opportunities in vegetarian or vegan products.
In particular, protein-rich beans such as soybeans would be increasingly cultivated, he told the AFP news agency.
According to Krüsken, these plant varieties have "recently gained momentum".
However, it is unclear whether this can be attributed solely to the increasing demand for plant-based substitutes.
Agricultural policy funding also influences what farmers grow in their fields.
The focus of funding is increasingly on richer crop rotations and more biodiversity.
Cannabis is also becoming an issue
Although it is currently still more financially worthwhile for farmers to grow feed for animals, the market for the products needed to produce vegetarian or vegan substitutes is growing, said Krüsken.
“And the farmers are getting on board.”
According to Farmer President Rukwied, German farmers are also flexible when it comes to other crops.
In view of the expected cannabis legalization, many farmers are already dealing with it: "Cultivation of hemp is a hip topic among German farmers," said Rukwied.
There is a lot of discussion about it.
»One or the other has already read how it can work with hemp.«