Fertile clay made the Northern provinces very suitable for crops like potatoes and sugar beets. Other popular crops are wheat and maize, and pastures produce hay and feed livestock.
Part of the agricultural produce is used for human consumption (crops, milk and meat), and some is ploughed back into the soil. The remainder is biomass waste, and one of the challenges faced by Chemport is to turn this waste into valuable commodities.
Sugars are extracted from sugar beets, but through biorefinery more biomass can be turned into sugars. Starches from potatoes know many uses, partly in the chemical industry. Fermentation of biomass can produce biogas.
Suiker Unie and Avebe are true biorefineries, working with sugar beets and potatoes, respectively. Many companies can use the sugars and fibres they produce.