Recovering traditional varieties of dry pulses for biodiversity conservation and new employment opportunities in Spain
Recovering traditional pulses as a healthy and sustainable protein source that enhances biodiversity on farms and creates rural employment
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Fundación Global Nature
Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
Spain (16 cities), most important: Boada Campos, Fuentes Nava, Pedraza, Villacañas, Lillo, Villafranca Caballeros, Madridejos, Almonacid Marquesado..
Short clip subtitled in English explaining the project with interviews to Fundación Global Nature staff, a public servant from one of the locations of impact and one of the farmers engaged in the project. We try to highlight the main challenges we faced during the project, the impact on the ground both in environmental and socioeconomic terms and finally our ambition for the future.
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Dry pulses are disappearing from our diets with a significant effect on biodiversity too. They were traditionally rotated with cereals and fallow land for keeping healthy soils and crops. Higher cereal prices, synthetic fertilisers availability and changes in consumers’ patterns reduced pulses’ surface and lead to cereal monoculture, seriously affecting endangered steppe birds and flora that used to live in this rich and traditional crop mosaic.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
FGN decided to recover these crops and associated biodiversity by creating shared value. More specifically by bringing healthy and traditional varieties of pulses cultivated organically by local farmers with measures for improving biodiversity directly to the market. We designed a set of 5 measures delivering positive effects on biodiversity but also on soil conservation, GHG emissions and pesticide use. When applied, FGN committed to buy pulses at a fair price (average 25% more) and bring them to National and International specialised markets. Higher value in markets due to biodiversity and social added value let us maintain a stable network of 50 farmers, create new job opportunities, preserve traditional varieties and on-farm endangered wildlife. We also promote this way pulses as a primary source for proteins with a smaller environmental impact and as a cornerstone for a healthier diet.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
This project has engaged over the last 9 years 50 farmers spread in 16 Spanish municipalities in Central Spain. It entailed changes in 3,000 ha of agricultural soils and enhanced the use of 2 local varieties of lentils (Manchega and Pardina varieties) and 1 local variety of chickpeas (Pedrosillano variety). As a result, 40 tones of pulses were sold in the Spanish market, 190 tones of pulses exported to 2 EU countries and 1 non-EU country. Information on fair-trade dry pulses and associated biodiversity conservation reached an estimated number of 500K consumers. 2 tones have been also donated to social canteens. 5 new jobs have been created and we estimate that the global business amount so far is about 500.000€
+6 steppe birds species and +10 rare segetal plant species benefited from these 3,000 ha in which rotation was made with pulses. An average of 25% less of fertilizers, 10% less of fuel and 10% less of agrochemicals were used.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
This initiative supported for 2 years by the Spanish Ministry with a grant for rural development projects, is now 100% self-supported with earned incomes for 6 years. Actually the first aim of the project was to become self-sufficient, as our ambition has always been re-investing on rural areas to demonstrate that preserving biodiversity, producing high quality food and creating new opportunities was feasible. Now that we know that this production scheme is possible, our dream is up scaling the project with more traditional varieties, but also reaching non-specialised markets through established agrifood businesses that are able to massively multiply positive impacts on rural areas and biodiversity conservation.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Betting for biodiversity and rural development has been our strongest added value. Sharing it along the supply chain our success. Very few initiatives have tried to bring these values to the markets, in most cases they rely on subsidies and grants. In Fundación Global Nature we believe that this is the best way to demonstrate that other production schemes are possible. And our aim now is to go further and to demonstrate that the big market and agrifood companies can also share these values.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
Being more than 20 years old conservationist NGO, we knew that preserving on-farm biodiversity has to be aligned with benefits for all the stakeholders. Farmers want to live from their incomes and giving an added value to pulses along the supply chain was the only way to demonstrate that recovering them was realistic and economically feasible. Pulses promoted are traditional, healthy and high quality, and are very appreciated by consumers. Surprisingly biodiversity had also a positive impact on consumers in first experiences. At this point we understood that our role was to act as catalysers, sharing and spreading this ambition along the supply chain, convincing stakeholders and coordinating them. This was our first “Aha” that lead to a more ambitious path we still look forward to keep on walking.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?