SLU news

Legato – European project to promote cultivation of legumes

Published: 11 March 2014

Legato is a European project focusing on future European cultivation of legumes. The project had a kick-off in French Dijon on 4-5 March. SLU is Swedish partner in the project.

“Legato” stands for “Legumes for the Agriculture of Tomorrow” and aims to increase the competitiveness of European legume cultivation. Legume crops are only grown in less than two per cent of the arable land in Europe, compared with more than ten per cent in China and the Americas. Legumes have major environmental advantages thanks to its ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. In crop rotation the legumes give nitrogen fertilizer to the following crops, they provide increased biodiversity and can reduce the transmission of diseases and parasites. Legumes are also important sources of protein and can increase European self-sustenance in terms of protein. Livestock production is largely dependent on imported soybeans, which are increasing sharply in price at the world market.

The Legato project comprises 17 research institutions and ten companies or organizations from twelve European countries. The focus is on the cultivation and management of peas and field beans, the most commonly cultivated legumes in Europe. The project will include work with different kinds of processing using new scientific techniques.

SLU is the Swedish partner, under the leadership of Professor Erik Steen Jensen.