Why faba bean?
Originating from the Middle East, faba bean is one of the earliest domesticated food legumes in the world and plays a key role as a source of protein for human and animal diets.
Since Roman agriculture this crop has been commonly used in crop rotations due to its ability to fix nitrogen and improve soil physical structure. Further benefits of this legume are its high environmental adaptability and yield potential
Faba bean has been a major food source in Mediterranean civilizations, which have developed a great number of locally adapted varieties. However, lack of support and the increasingly global economy are dooming this crop to oblivion.
Given our long agricultural and culinary tradition, the "Faba Bean Initiative" claims the future of this crop based on the following:
- Historical tradition.
- Environmental protection.
- Maintaing productivity and soil fertility.
- Reducing dependence on foreign markets.
- Nutraceutical and nutritional value.
Grain legumes such us faba beans have played a key role in agriculture and economy of all the Mediterranean countries. Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were great consumers of faba beans. Ancient merchants extended its use through the Silk Route to reach China and Spanish conquerors introduced the crop in America after the discovery of the New World.
Nitrogen is the most limiting factor in crop production. Faba beans can fix atmospheric nitrogen by working symbiotically with special bacteria, rhizobia, which live in the root nodules. This capacity reduces the need for inorganic nitrogen fertilizers to be applied to the following crop, minimizing fossil fuel consumption and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Maintaing productivity and soil fertility
Rotation with legume crops contributes to a more balanced nutrient storage, enhanced disease resistance and improved soil structure. Legumes reduce land erosion and spreading of weeds, and break pest cycles leading to a reduction of pesticides. An increased percentage of legume crops in rotations reduces energy requirements of the cropping system by 10%.
Reducing dependence on foreign markets
70% of the EU consumption of vegetable protein , mainly soja, is imported from Brazil, Argentina and the U.S. Fostering traditional legume crops such as faba beans in Spain will help to adjust our trade balance and to reduce the instability of feed prices.
Nutraceutical and nutritional value
Faba beans have a high content in proteins (25-40%), as well as calcium, fiber, folic acid and vitamins B1, B2 and C. They are especially rich in iron, helps to clean the blood based on its uric acid content, and to remove fat from the arteries, lowering cholesterol levels. Thanks to its content in L-DOPA, it also improves symptoms in Alzheimer's patients. We believe in the potential of faba bean as a multifunctional crop and as a food for the future. With a growing world population that demands ever more and better food, faba bean as a cheap source of protein, could meet many of the current needs of our planet.