On July 17th, the first meeting of the Galician RAIN of the AF4EU project took place, coordinated by the USC’s Polytechnic School of Engineering (EPSE). Bringing together farmers, scientists, advisors, project participants, and policy makers in Lugo, the event aimed to identify the network’s priorities and kickstart the creation of an accreditation system for environmentally sustainable and economically viable agroforestry business models.
Led by Rosa Mosquera (EPSE – USC), the meeting continued the work initiated by the international collaborative network Afinet, which emphasizes the value of agroforestry systems and promotes innovative, sustainable, and profitable practices. Through AF4EU, the network seeks to strengthen and showcase successful models to encourage entrepreneurship and benefit the entire value chain, from producers to consumers.
The inaugural meeting of the Galician Agroforestry Innovation Network began with an overview of the AF4EU program, followed by a presentation of various active agroforestry extension services. Attendees also learned about existing decision support tools. Additionally, the attendees were introduced to AFINET’s agroforestry knowledge cloud, a valuable repository of information on the sector. The gathering proceeded with interactive surveys using tools like mentimeter to discuss the main challenges and solutions in agroforestry systems.
In the afternoon, the participants visited two locations. The first stop was at Greenalia’s biomass plant, where the network members observed the operation and viability of green energy production using forest waste. The second visit was to the Monte de Forgoselo, where they witnessed an example of an efficient agroforestry exploitation and discussed its strengths.
The establishment of this Galician RAIN aims to ensure the viability of agroforestry businesses and generate greater acceptance and interest within society. The network will work on innovative tools to predict the potential success of agroforestry businesses, which heavily rely on their unique location-specific factors such as resource availability, climate, demographics, and cultural elements. This complexity necessitates continuous innovations and knowledge generation. To facilitate knowledge exchange, the various agroforestry innovation networks across European regions driven by AF4EU will collect and share best practices for potential users.