CropExplore 4 Farmers

The CropExplore 4 Farmers project is mapping the potential of more than 200 arable crops within the Flemish bioeconomy with deder, yacon and hemp as demonstration cases. 

CropExplore 4 Farmers

Why this project?

Suppose: as a grower you want to bet on crop diversification by adding a new crop to your rotation. But how do you decide which crop this will be? And what is the most suitable variety to start with? There is also a clear need from the processing industry due to the current crises to work with more sustainable raw materials, to opt for zero-waste production and to reduce dependence on foreign countries. But which raw materials then have the greatest potential?

To this day, it is not easy to answer these questions. Indeed, knowledge about new crops that have potential within the Flemish bioeconomy is highly fragmented and nowhere to be observed at a glance. This makes it very difficult for growers to compare two potential crops and make the right choice, but also for the food industry and other sectors to find the right opportunities.

Research approach?

CropExplore 4 Farmers (CEF) is an agriculture (LA) track and also a cross-sector (inter-cluster) project with the aim to inspire and stimulate farmers to grow new crops that have a potential within the Flemish bioeconomy.  

Concretely, we want to achieve this goal by:

  • Drawing up a knowledge matrix containing cultivation characteristics, yields, acreages, ingredients and sales opportunities of at least 200 known and less known arable crops with potential within the Flemish bioeconomy.
  • To translate the knowledge matrix into a convenient online tool that on the one hand will allow growers to compare crops on the basis of certain economic or ecological criteria and on the other hand will inspire product innovations in the processing industry.
  • Three demonstration cases to be worked out around deder, yacon and hemp in which more specifically:
  • The cultivation technique (weed control, variety choice and mixed cultivation) of deder will be tested at field scale and the applications of deder oil and press cake will be investigated.
  • Large-scale yacon cultivation will be optimized in terms of planting material and mechanization. Storage and processing into semi-finished products will be tested on a laboratory and pilot scale.
  • The sales potential and profitability of hemp will be optimized by focusing on the valorization of hemp tops and shives.
  • Facilitate contact and knowledge exchange between growers and processors.

Target group and results

Farmers are the primary target group of the CropExplore 4 Farmers project. More specifically, this refers to arable farms active in conventional or organic cultivation.

This project is also relevant for the processing industry and this from different sectors within the bioeconomy. By stimulating the cultivation of new raw materials, the processing industry can focus more on product innovations with locally grown raw materials. Hence, companies within the Flemish food and beverage industry and the chemicals and plastics sector also belong to the target group of this project. 

Project details

Project type
Innovation Programme
Biobased Value Chains
Project status
Approved on
Project date
€936 198
€842 578