The Controlled DNA certifies the quality and origin of local rice production, guarantees production of local seeds and strengthens the bond with consumers.
The Controlled DNA trademark stems from a long term strategy of Lombardy Region that acknowledges local rural productive systems with homogeneous historic and territorial identity. This approach led to the integration of agricultural activities and other local businesses, dedicated to traditional products and delivery of services. In 2001, a legislative framework was set to promote and support the aggregation of enterprises as Rural Districts, aiming to increase co-operation in growth, innovation, internationalisation, and logistics by sharing resources and know-how.
The Rural District Riso&Rane aggregates municipalities south-west of the Milan Metropolitan area and rice producing farms in a total cultivated area of ca. 5,000 ha and an area cultivated with rice in ca. 4,000ha. The constitution of this District arises from the necessity of some farmers to overcome the archaic individualisms typical of the agricultural world, and in particular of rice producers, who to date have always inhibited the chances of achieving better strategies related to the production and marketing of their product.
The development of the new certification DNA trademark, managed by Riso&Rane District, provides rice with the protocol label, certificated, documented. It is univocally recognizable, like a copyright product. In 2011, Riso&Rane completed the protocol of approval. The DNA analyses are performed by the Genomics Platform of PTP Science Park, which belongs to the Agrifood Cluster.
The development of the new certification DNA trademark has been funded by Measure n.124 of Rural Development Programme 2007- 2013. After the regional financing, the certification activities are financed by the farms members of the Rural District.
Evidence of success
Working together for sustainability Riso&Rane Rural District aggregates 23 municipalities south west of the Milan Metropolitan Area, 60 rice producing farms in a total cultivated area of about 5,000ha and an area cultivated with rice in about 4,000ha. The cooperation with the large-scale distribution and the support of the Municipality of Milan led to a fruitful collaboration with the largescale retail store Esselunga, guaranteeing to District members the sale of 75tons of rice from 2014 to 2018
Potential for learning or transfer
The innovative process of identification and traceability (DNA Control procedure) of the local products is transferable to other contexts and could be a source of inspiration, because it could be extended to other type of crops and products in a given area. This initial bottom up action, with the help of public administrations, developed into the current consortium setting. The District today relies on its certification system to achieve an economic sustainability. To this extent, the close collaboration with technological and business partners is essential, such as the PTP Science Park, Universities, Large-scale distribution and food service marketing companies, in addition to the support of the Regional Government.