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The circular bioeconomy in Europe is bigger than we think, says Alain Dufait, managing director of Cargill Starches & Sweeteners. 'Referring to the Calimero effect is therefore misplaced. However, innovations only come to life if they are connected to consumer needs.'

Alain Dufait was one of the speakers at a meeting on the role of the circular bioeconomy in the EU, part of the EU Industry Days on 5 and 6 February in Brussels. These are meant to show how EU industrial policy contributes to the lives of European citizens and to provide input for future policy.

According to Dufait, the debate about the bioeconomy sometimes is lagging behind the facts. For example, there is a lot of talk about the need for closing the cycles in agriculture, while this is already a reality: ’99, 5% of the total agricultural production is already being used.’ This is not a matter of a clearly defined circular shape, but in stead, a collection of interconnections in all directions between primary production, food, feed, industry and energy.

It would therefore not be advisable to focus on just one aspect, such as food, and to speak about the competition between land uses for food and fuel. That discussion is missing the point: they are interconnected. ‘We must not forget that already 40% of agricultural production goes to industry.’

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