The mission of Wageningen MFC (WMFC’s) is: To provide good food for everyone in an urbanizing world.
The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations form the basis for the work of WMFC. Together with WUR and other knowledge institutes, with agrifood entrepreneurs and technology providers and with support of government institutions we have build a strong knowledge base and experience in designing and implementing integrated future proof food production systems. In each project in which we cooperate, we create a tailor made transdisciplinary project team with scientists, innovators and practitioners. The cooperation with Vreba Holding (Vreba) started in 2008 and has resulted in ground breaking innovations in the dairy chain. Since 2008 we have been cooperating in projects aiming at modernization of agriculture in The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, India, China, Mexico, Paraguay, Brasil, Qatar, Oman, Russia, United Kingdom, Malaysia (Sarawak) and Ukraine.
It is our view that dairy is the most important source of proteins and functional food in the future diet of mankind. In comparison to other animal proteins its production is very resource use efficient and as a result of 200 million years of mammal evolution it not only contains all essential amino acids but also a vast number of other functional molecules that the human body needs. A specific example is Lactoferrin, that serves to increase the immunity in new born babies and stimulates the development of the babies’ own immune system. Research is ongoing to target its effectiveness against various cancers and for its potential to help prevent and cure Covid-19.
Within the dairy chain Vreba and WMFC have jointly developed five technical innovations:
- Production of animal feed in vertical farms and greenhouses.
- The eco-climate barn using REMEDy®-technology with animal friendly conditions for milking cows. The REMEDy-stable will reduce the emission of methane and ammonia to zero. The emission of methane is the most important single factor of agriculture’s contribution to climate change.
- Manure refinery in which different valuable components of cow dung are being separated and recombined in valuable resources that can be sold and reused to replace artificial fertilizer.
- The integrated processing of milk on the farm, into dairy products, functional food components and pharmaceuticals.
- The production of beef as a by-product of dairy as an alternative to the current practice of beef production worldwide that has a very strong negative environmental impact.
These innovations will be described in more detail below.
In close cooperation with local and regional government and with knowledge institutions these technical innovations together have comprised a system innovation:
- It generates more added value in the supply chain because of integration of production, product development processing and agro-logistics.
- It strongly reduces the environmental footprint of dairy production including the emission of methane. Worldwide emission of methane, dairy production contributes 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
- It creates an innovative regional ecosystem, a living lab in which entrepreneurs, science and government cooperate.
- The shift from traditional farming to advanced resource use efficient agrofood production will reduce the space demand for agricultural production. Large amounts of land will become available for other land use functions like biodiversity protection, climate resilience, water management, urbanisation and recreation.
This system innovation will help turning global agriculture into a modern knowledge driven business. Applied in specific rural areas it will change the perspective from marginalization towards becoming part of the modern world food system. The inclusion of the rural population is required, in a shift from low skilled back breaking work towards advanced workers in a modern business.
Vreba and Wageningen MFC will together establish the Nassau-Wageningen Institute (NWI). NWI will be an independent foundation that will act as the knowledge manager for the companies, that Vreba Holding currently is implementing in The Netherlands, Germany, and Brasil. Knowledge management entails:
- Designing, implementing and executing the training and education of the workforce in the newly started enterprises.
- Developing and conducting research aimed at innovation.
- Assessing the performance of the new ventures towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
To download the mindmap, please see the link below: