The kick-off meeting of the SMEOrigin project was hosted by Calasparra Municipality in the region of Murcia, Spain, on 10 – 12 May 2023. It focused on presenting the main goals, opportunities and challenges before the consortium regarding the project.
The meeting started with a warm welcome by mayor Teresa García, who presented Calasparra, its ecosystem around the production of Calasparra Rice, a product which was awarded the seal of product with geographical indication.
Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsges.m.b.H., the Lead Partner, as coordinator of the project, made a presentation of the overall project and the upcoming activities.
Each partner made a presentation introducing the region and entity to which they belong. The partners presented the products with certified geographical indication in their regions and also highlighted national products of relevance. They also shared good practices, policies, regulations or initiatives that are remarkable and relevant for the purpose of the project, considered as good practices that should be considered to boost the exchange with the consortium and the potential areas for improvement that can be highlighted.
After the presentations, the lead partner led a workshop dedicated to initial analysis of the status quo and business environment for SMEs in the participating regions.
Field trip to Calasparra Rice Routes
During the study visit, the members had the opportunity to visit the Calasparra Virgen de la Fuensanta Rice Cooperative, where they learned first-hand about the high-quality production of the product, how the spaces and procedures are organised according to the type of rice involved or even the packaging of the product with its distinctive seal.
Afterwards, the partners visited the various locally produced rice fields. One of the characteristics that make this product from Calasparra so special is the fact that the water in the rice plantations is not stagnant, which allows a constant flow that increases the quality of the final product, unlike other types of plantations.
In addition, the partners visited the museum of Calasparra in the Tourist Office of the Municipality, where they were introduced to the different recreational and tourist activities that are organised around the production of rice, as a differentiating element and an enhancer of local development.
Murcia Food Brokerage Event 2023
On the May 11th the partners attended the 11th Edition of Murcia Food Brokerage Event 2023. During this day, the partners attended different conferences and presentations in which the latest creations in the agrifood sector were presented.
After the brokerage event we held a guided tour around Murcia city and had after that a dinner with all project partners, where we had the opportunity to process and discuss the impressions of the brokerage event.
On the May 12th, coinciding with the end of the XI International Canning Symposium, an open day that was held in Molina de Segura (Murcia) to publicize the project: "Digitalization of the food industry for the optimization of resources and assurance of traceability, quality and agri-food safety (DIGFOOD)".
SMEOrigin partners visited the centre's facilities and were able to learn about the latest developments in digitalisation and innovation in the field of canning. In particular, the lecture on the optical scanning process of good/ripe/bad fruit and vegetables as well as modern laboratory methods were well received.
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