The Bioeconomy Council of the German Federal Government publishes three short analyses with regard to the role of agriculture, chemistry and plant breeding for the advancement of the bioeconomy in Germany. The council concludes that the bio-based economy is increasingly acknowledged as an opportunity for ecological modernization.
The primary production sector, and specifically agriculture, has to provide and ensure a suitable supply of feedstock to meet the growing demand for food and bio-based industrial raw materials. At the same time, bio-based production and value chains have to meet societal expectations e.g. with respect to production methods, ecological impacts and animal welfare. Germany’s scientific contribution should focus on innovations that increase agricultural output while taking account of social and environmental sustainability, and minimize losses along the supply chain. This necessitates efforts to integrate classic and modern plant breeding instruments. The chemical industry in Germany readily applies biotechnology and biological resources in profitable niche markets. However, a comprehensive transition of the industry in the sense of a change to bio-based feedstock is still unlikely. Yet, the council sees great potential, not only in the mere replacement of fossil feedstock, but primarily in the manufacture of bio-based and bio-inspired products with enhanced properties.
“The bioeconomy not only promises to contribute to industrial renewal in Germany, but also enables the country to meet its global responsibility for its large resources footprint by engaging in science and technology co-operations”, said Prof. Joachim von Braun, co-chair of the council.