AGAPA organized last July 20 in Granada, the first meeting of the Regional Network for Innovation in Agroforestry Systems – RAIN Andalucia – in the framework of the AF4EU Project.
It was attended by 31 experts from the production sector, research and agricultural administration who, from now on, will work together in the development of new business models in the main value chains of agroforestry systems in the Mediterranean Basin.
The RAIN will address the study of the value chains of high quality products from agroforestry systems, such as dehesa, or almond, olive, chestnut or poplar plantations, which integrate livestock management. The ultimate objective is to promote new business models that generate greater added value for products such as meat, fruit, cheese, honey, mushrooms and aromatic plants. To this end, the keys to their viability and future profitability will be identified.
A participatory and multidisciplinary methodology is used, especially designed to promote innovation processes, which must be based on the real needs of the territory. This first meeting was attended by representatives of the olive grove sector, sheep, cattle and goat farmers, and in particular of the Lojeña, Segureña and Pajuna sheep breeds, as well as the poplar sector. And among its associations, the Asociación de Pastores por el Monte Mediterráneo, Fundación Monte Mediterráneo, Cooperativas Agroalimentarias de Andalucía, Asociación AlVElAl and COAG Andalucía. Among the R+D+i entities, there were representatives from the Universities of Seville and Cordoba, research staff from the Mediterranean Pastures and Pastoral Systems Group of the Zaidín Experimental Station – CSIC – Granada and experts in forestry and agricultural economics from the CIFA-IFAPA Camino de Purchil. From the public sector, staff from the General Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, from the Regional Agricultural Offices of Alcalá la Real, Guadix and Cortegana, from the Mayor’s Office of Almócita, as well as staff from the GDR Altiplano de Granada attended the meeting.
RAIN Andalusia is coordinated by the expert M.ª Carmen García Moreno, currently provincial head of AGAPA in Granada, who will play the role of Innovation Broker, for her ability to connect ideas, people and institutions in the process of responding to the needs of the sector and join efforts to find innovative solutions. The Ecology and International Relations Departments of the Promotion, Consultancy and GIS Actions Sub-Directorate collaborate with RAIN.
RAIN was created with the vocation of remaining in the territory, with three initial objectives. The first is to design and implement the Agroforestry Advisory Systems of the future and training courses for advisors and farmers in MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) format. The second objective is to develop the main business models for agriculture and livestock combined with woody systems, improving the viability and profitability of the main value chains. And finally, to build a Knowledge Platform, oriented to the sector and its advisors, with numerous sources of specialized information and a collection of more than 100 innovations developed through practical use cases and market studies of the main products identified in the value chains.
The AF4EU project will create, in addition to the Andalusian RAIN, 10 other regional networks in the main European climate areas. The project roadmap (January 2023-December 2025) foresees the identification of the main products and value chains of the agro-forestry systems belonging to the 11 RAINs, and the development of solutions adapted to their reality, providing numerous tools for the exchange of experiences, training and support for decision-making.