Belgian cooperative Vlaams Hoeverund and retailer Colruyt Group have teamed up for a pilot project on carbon farming.
The project will see owner OKay and Bio-Planet partner with Flemish livestock farmers’ cooperatives to fix carbon in the soil through innovative measures.
Colruyt Group will provide inspiration, advice and financial support, while farmers will get to work on, among other things, creative crop rotations to carry out the initiative.
The test project is co-supervised by Inagro, the retailer added.
Vlaams Hoeverund is a cooperative bringing together Flemish breeders since 2019, with the aim of bringing high quality beef to the market.
Since its creation, the cooperative has worked closely with Colruyt Group on two important pillars: quality and sustainability.
Soils with good organic carbon content are more resistant to erosion, have a better water balance and are more fertile.
It also provides better protection against drought or flooding.
Carbon-rich soil works like a sponge, holding water better in dry conditions and allowing water to pass better in wet conditions.
Franky Coopman, soil consultant at Inagro, said: “Carbon farming means taking carbon out of the air and ‘storing’ it in the soil. There are several innovative techniques and smart applications for carbon farming, from organic fertilization and more diverse crop rotations to agroforestry.
“We are also exploring possible revenue models that can be linked to this in our Belgian agricultural sector, but we have also noticed that incentives for active soil management are sometimes lacking.”
Colruyt Group and Vlaams Hoeverund Cooperation
The Vlaams Hoeverund has been working for a long time to make cattle farming more sustainable, for example in terms of circularity, and has also developed an interest in carbon farming.
Additionally, as a retailer providing fresh food to thousands of customers daily, the retail group aims to incorporate sustainable farming practices..
Geert Hanssens, agriculture expert at Colruyt Group, added: “Colruyt Group mainly aims to achieve a sustainable movement; we want to provide that “spark”: we help find solutions, techniques and crop rotations that also offer added value to farmers. “
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