On Friday 3 June 2022, the Policy Learning Platform held a webinar on the topic of smart and green local agri-food value chains during the EU Green Week.
It put the spotlight on the transition to a smart and green European food system through more local agri-food value chains. At the core of the European Green Deal, the EU Farm to Fork Strategy published on 20 May 2020 highlights the importance of local agri-food value chains.
The importance of a smart and resilient food system became even more evident during the Covid-19 crisis and more recently with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The supply of local quality affordable food and the issues around the sustainable livelihood of farmers and rural communities were put in the spotlight at a time when international and even national supply chains were disrupted requiring smart and green solutions.
These topics and challenges have been explored in different Interreg Europe projects, and this webinar featured practices and lessons from:
- CITYZEN that explore innovation and business models for urban farming and supply chains,
- RUMORE which aims to improve regional innovation policies and capacities by fostering rural-urban cooperation and partnerships.
Moderation and concept by Arnault Morisson and Marc Pattinson, Thematic Experts for Research and innovation.
Navigate through the agenda below to the discussion topic of interest:
- 00:02:45 Presentation of Interreg Europe and the Policy Learning Platform by Elena Ferrario
- 00:14:58 Keynote speech by Elvira Domingo on how to design smart and green local agri-food value chains
- 00:36:54 Case study by Rosinda Pimenta on urban farming in Beja - Mértola Food Network
- 01:00:22 Case study by Vasiliki Papadopoulou on the Fresh Fruit Pilot Project in Italy and Greece
It implies systemic changes in the value chain from the agri-food production to the consumption thus making smart and green solutions essential.
Local and regional policymakers must plan for an integrated strategy that targets different value chain dimensions to transform existing food value chains into sustainable food value chains.
Mértola Food Network illustrates the importance of a narrative of change—where societal challenges can give an impetus.
In the case of Mértola’s high vulnerability from extreme weather and desertification—to mobilise stakeholders and engage the broader community, to educate farmers and consumers, and advocate for persuading local inhabitants of the importance of transformative changes to build more resilient and sustainable local agri-food value chains.
The farming economy is a traditional and fragmented sector that is slow to adopt new technology and that has thin profit margins that limit farmers’ ability to invest in and adopt climate-smart practices.
EIT Food presented different programmes such as test farms that aim to connect startups and farmers to support technological transformation in agriculture and regenerative agriculture that offers capacity-building to farmers. EIT also seeks to engage farmers in training other farmers and engage with key intermediaries such as cooperatives or specific target groups such as young farmers
The partnership seeks to create an ecosystem to facilitate the dissemination and commercialisation of innovative technological solutions for the agri-food sector, encouraging interregional knowledge diffusion and private investments in AGTech. Focusing on fresh fruit products (grapes, kiwi, etc.).
The pilot initiative has been developed on three test sites located in Tuscany and Central Macedonia regions, where local farms become test sites and living labs for new technologies.