Maramures County Council organized on 27th of June, 2019, a new meeting with local stakeholders of the FoodChains 4 Europe project, gathering representatives of public institutions, academia, NGOs and producers from the agro-food sector from Maramures, in order to discuss the progress of project activities and the regional action plan of Maramures.

In the opening, Mr. Doru Dancus, vice-president of the Maramures County Council, highlighted the importance of the FoodChains 4 Europe project for creating a sectorial public-private partnership. Mr. Dancus also presented the preliminary actions of Maramures County Council for setting up the "Good of Maramures" initiative aimed at supporting and promoting the quality products of Maramures.

Inter-regional experience exchanges through the FoodChains 4 Europe project
The FC4EU project manager of Maramures County, Mrs. Mihaela Lite, Head of the International Relations Office of Maramures County Council, presented the peer review held in Emilia-Romagna (Italy), in February 2019. The evaluation of the food chains in Emilia-Romagna was coordinated by the Maramures County team, focusing on the regional public-private co-operation and innovative packaging for preserving the products quality, reducing the consumption of materials and reusing and recycling of packaging.

The interregional learning process within the FC4EU project has continued through the Learning Workshop held in Manchester (UK), in June 2019, gathering food specialists from the project regions for good practice presentations, visits and discussions on the cooperation between the local government, universities and business in Greater Manchester region to develop dynamic, vibrant and sustainable food chains.

Regional Action Plans for sustainable food chain innovation
Another important activity of the FC4EU project is the development of the Regional Action Plans by each of the five regions of the FC4EU project: Flevoland (NL), Varna (BG), Emilia-Romagna (IT), Maramures (RO) and Greater Manchester (UK).

Based on inter-regional experience exchanges, peer review recommendations and knowledge gained through the learning seminars and the activities of stakeholders involved in the FC4EU project, the Regional Action Plans have the role to support the business environment to innovate in a sustainable way the local food chains.

"Good of Maramures" Association - The Action Plan for Innovative Food Chains in Maramures County
In the second part of the event held on June, 27, the Maramures County Council presented its Action Plan "Developing the food chain economy in Maramures County", aimed at supporting a sustainable food chain innovation through valorizing the representative local products of Maramures County.

As preliminary actions, the Maramures County Council undertook important steps by registering the "Good of Maramures" trademark, reserving the name "Good of Maramures" Association, consulting the local stakeholders and organizing two editions of "Good of Maramures" Fair. The "Good of Maramures" Association will be established by the end of 2019, bringing together local stakeholders interested in promoting representatives products for Maramures’ tradition, authenticity and local value.

Constructive discussions on the implementation of the "Good of Maramures" initiative
During the last part of the meeting, the participants discussed about the implementation of the "Good of Maramures" initiative and pointed out some characteristics of Maramures agro-food sector.

65 traditional producers are certified in Maramures, but the interest for certification has decreased because of the current market difficulties, for example, there are too many supermarkets that need a large quantity of products.

The recent Mountain Law represents an opportunity for the local products, defining the mountain product and pursuing dedicated funding programs. This initiative will be very beneficial for Maramures county, which has 53 localities as part of the mountain area. Referring to the associative situation, 27 cooperatives are set up in Maramures, 25 of them working in the field of animal husbandry and 2 cooperatives in the field of vegetable growing.

The discussions continued by pointing out the role of the "Good of Maramures" Association for identifying the local products and the producers of Maramures that are representative, authentic and bring added value. The Association should be also a mediator between public authorities, academia and local business in order to influence the local and regional policies and to support the research and innovation in the sector, as well as to motivate local actors to become members of the "Good of Maramures" Association, having concrete benefits for protecting and promoting the valuable local products.

In the coming period, Maramures stakeholders will contribute with concrete proposals for the objectives and activities of the “Good of Maramures” Association and for the Action Plan of Maramures County.