On the 24th of January 27 students from different countries presented their recommendations and innovations for improving the regional food chain. This concluded their assignment for the minor Supply Chain Management at Aeres University of Applied Science Dronten in cooperation with province of Flevoland within the FoodChains 4 EU project .

Benchmark European regions

The students compared Flevoland with one other Dutch province and one of the European regions participating in the FoodChains 4 EU programme. The students selected and studied one particular market such as fruit production, dairy farming, agriculture or pig farming and interviewed several farming entrepreneurs in Flevoland. They concluded that the regions have much to learn from each other. From the regions Maramures in Romania and Plovdiv in Bulgaria how to keep short distance between consumer and farmer. From the Italian region Emilia Romagna about their years of experience with strong regional brands such as Parmesan cheese and Parma Ham. And from the Manchester region about working according to sustainability standards.

Cooperation important for strengthening regional food chain

After benchmarking Flevoland with the other provinces and European regions the students developed recommendations and came up with innovations to strengthen the Flevoland food chain. They developed different ideas, but in all the ideas cooperation was important to make innovations successful.

From regional brand to block chain

The students presented different innovations. One of the ideas was to launch an online database combining data and experiences from farmers on how to use the soil. The database should contain data specific for Flevoland and per sector as a fruit producer needs different data than a potato farmer.

Agriport A7 in the province of North-Holland inspired another group to establish an Agripark. Combining onion and potato production, the processing of these products, educational facilities, housing and a shop creates an area where companies strengthen and benefit from each other on issues like energy consumption.

A regional brand or trade mark was suggested as a way of improving the status of Flevoland as important potato producer. A regional brand requires that all producers work together on its realisation.

Also, ideas were launched on re-using grass and bread for animal feed. To boost direct sales to consumers the students came up with ideas for establishing a Flevo Shop (grocery shop new style) using block chain technology to simplify the direct delivery to consumers without being dependent on intermediary businesses.

The province of Flevoland and Aeres Dronten will investigate the possibilities to follow up on the students research.