A Case Study on Lentil Cultivation in Germany
Reviving a Neglected Crop: A Case Study on Lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus subsp. culinaris) Cultivation in Germany
Cultivation of lentils had ended by mid-20th century in Germany, but a revival was initiated in the first decade of this millennium in Southwest Germany. However, knowledge of lentil cultivation was almost lost, and today’s yields are still low. To gain an overview of current farm practices and of factors that can help lentil cultivation thrive, 25 lentil farmers (21 organic, 4 conventional) from SW Germany answered questionnaires for agronomic data on lentil cultivation in the years 2015, 2016, and 2017. Eleven farmers took part in additional semi-structured interviews about their motivation and the most important factors (economic, ecological, and social) that encouraged them to grow lentils. Neither the lentil variety (Anicia, Späth’s Alblinse I and II), nor the companion crop for the usual mixed cropping (spring barley, oat, and camelina), significantly influenced lentil yield. If lentil cultivation is to further expand, data from more farmers could be evaluated and factors that contribute to crop thriving analyzed more clearly. The cultivation techniques currently practiced are diverse, and lentils integrate well into existing structures. Farmers appear motivated to grow lentils by good examples of colleagues, by availability of marketing channels, and by the desire to promote lentils’ ecological and social benefits.
One of many outputs of the TRUE project https://www.true-project.eu/publications-resources/publications/