Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, BENEO and Puratos unite to support sustainable farming

Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, a beet sugar producer, BENEO, a leading manufacturer of functional ingredients, and Puratos, a global leader in bakery, patisserie, and chocolate ingredients, have joined forces to launch the pioneering Climate Farming Project. This ambitious initiative aims to support Belgian farmers in adopting more sustainable farming practices, promoting regenerative agricultural principles that enhance soil health and reduce environmental impact.

Addressing climate change and ensuring resilient farming practices are crucial to meet the demands of future generations. The project partners recognise that achieving this requires collaboration between the agricultural sector and the food industry. Empowering farmers through training and stimulating the exchange of knowledge are key components of this joint commitment.

The project, already underway, will run until 2025 and involves 15 pilot farms across Belgium. These farms will cultivate sugar beet, wheat, and chicory using various regenerative farming methods over an area equivalent to more than 1,100 football fields.

Throughout the project, farmers will implement specific farming measures, including reducing mineral nitrogen fertilisation and pesticide use through more organic means and enhancing biodiversity by planting flower strips and hedges. Improving the biomass of cover and catch crops planted after the main harvest will also reduce soil erosion and enhance soil fertility and biodiversity in agroecosystems. Additionally, the project aims to reduce tillage to combat erosion. These efforts are supported by the localised application of mineral fertilisers, the use of organic fertilisers, biopesticides, and the early sowing of multi-species catch crops.

The Climate Farming Project began with a comprehensive diagnostic phase using a farm assessment tool called Greencard. This initial evaluation was crucial in setting measurable objectives and selecting appropriate regenerative agriculture practices for implementation in subsequent phases. The results can be used to expand these practices to other farmers working with BENEO and Raffinerie Tirlemontoise.

Fabrice Flamend, a farmer from Eghezée, Belgium, and member of the Climate Farming Project, shares his perspective: “It is clear that the agricultural sector must move towards a more regenerative approach. While there are many ideas on how to achieve this, involving farmers and their expertise from the field in these discussions is vital. We need to uncover feasible techniques where factors such as soil condition, crops, equipment and profitability can be taken into account. This is why I am excited to be part of the Climate Farming Project. It provides a platform to exchange know-how and experience between farmers, and the companies that process our crops. Through the Climate Farming Project, we can work together on solutions that will future-proof agriculture.”

Through this partnership, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, BENEO, and Puratos underscore their shared commitment to sustainable farming practices and the pursuit of innovative solutions, all while respecting the needs of farmers and future generations.


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Media contact

Hannah Larvin
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920
Email: editor@in-confectionery.com

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