SERVAGRI project, ENPI CBC Italy-Tunisia 2007-2013 Programme, aims at developing, jointly, strategies and pilot actions for the integration of agri-food productive chains, capable, on one hand, to enhance and make more competitive the typical and quality productions; on the second hand, to increase the level of food quality and safety, while respecting the principles of sustainable development. More specifically, it focused on improving quality, safety standards and environmental sustainability of local productions, increasing their added value and competitiveness, implementing sectoral strategic projects able to contribute to the increasing of quantities through a transboundary basket of agri-food products, developing collaborative models and partnerships between enterprises and between public and private spheres (PPP), structuring the organisation of the productive chains according to the logic of ‘cross-border clusters’ of euro-Mediterranean matrix.
Eloro Local Action Group – Mixed Consortium with limited liability - ItalyLead applicant
The Eloro LAG aims at the enhancement and development of its rural district in each sector of socio- economic life, implementing all those actions aiming at integrated and sustainable development. Main activities: - planning and management of local, regional, national and EU projects - territorial diagnosis and elaboration of development plans in all the economic sectors - population sensitisation - technical assistance for local partnerships creation, elaboration of local strategies for integrated development and research funding for potential beneficiaries - promotion of projects with innovative and demonstrative elements - technical support and animation of rural development, identifying the needed initiatives for the revival of food, agriculture and handicraft enterprises in the rural sphere - feasibility studies, technical advice in favour of SMEs and other activities of farmers, artisans and services operators, also through the research of potential markets, domestic and international ones - creation of social, cultural, environmental and tourism projects and events
Zarzis Association for sustainable development and International cooperation - TunisiaInitiative partner
In this project ADDCI Zarzis plays the role of Associate Member. The ADDCI - Zarzis for sustainable development and international cooperation was created in 2002, it contributes to the social inclusion of the poor people in general and women and young people in particular, their micro-credit granting and implementing development activities with an approach involving the effective participation of the people concerned, as it contributes to the enhancement of cultural, architectural and tourist heritage of the region and work to promote actions for the conservation of the ecosystem.
South South International Cooperation - ItalyInitiative partner
CISS is a non -profit organisation founded in 1985 and from 1989 has been recognised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a non-governmental organization (NGO) such as to promote and carry out cooperation projects with developing countries (Ministerial Decree No. 1989/128/3638/O of 6.12.1989). In addition to international cooperation activities, all over the world, CISS achieves local development initiatives in favour of the marginalised sectors of population, the non-EU immigrants and refugees. Equally important are campaigns to raise public awareness and the education of students and young people on development issues.
EURISPES Sicily - ItalyInitiative partner
EURISPES Sicily, affiliated to Eurispes national entity that is based in Rome, is a non-profit Institute of Studies that operates in the field of political, economic and social research, in order to carry out studies of research on behalf of companies, public and private entities, national and international institutions. It promotes and finances independently surveys on topics of social interest, cultural activities, conferences, scholarships, and publishing initiatives, serving as an independent centre of information and guidance of public opinion and major decision areas that operate in Italy.
Italian Farmers Confederation Syracuse - ItalyInitiative partner
The CIA, created in 1977, operates in Italy, in Europe and internationally for the advancement of agriculture and for the defence of the income and equal dignity and of farmers in society. It organises farmers and all those who are related to the agricultural activity bay non-transitory relationships. The CIA is organised in category associations, institutes and companies who work on food security and environmental protection, in the fields of social security, social, health, and tax, technical advice, training, insurance, agro-tourism, organic farming and for the protection of the elderly, women and youth. The confederation has representatives in major international organisms at international, European, national, regional and provincial levels.
Association for the Promotion of Employment and Housing - TunisiaInitiative partner
APEL is intended to help target populations to promote and develop themselves. It operates in the poorest areas of forests and mountains of north-western Tunisia (Governorates of Kef, Jendouba, Beja and Bizerte) With over 30 years experience in the field of rural development, it is recognised to be of National Interest Its activities are developed in the fields of education, programs for population, agriculture, forestry and fishing, protection of the environment.
Towards a Mediterranean basket of safe, fully traceable and quality agri-food products through an incubator of juvenile and female micro-enterprises acting in the new-economies and able to improve life conditions in the rural milieu.
The main tool for innovation is the centre of excellence for innovative modernisation and re-organisation of agri-food chains and for high-level training and incubation of Italian and Tunisian youth and women micro-enterprises, named the “SERVAGRI Observatory”. This practical-operational tool, conceived as a positive example of public-private non-profit partnership, as provided for by its statute of association, has showed 'on the field' to be able to create and promote a cross-border basket of food products of high quality and full traceability, characterised by conditions of absolute transparency in food safety and able to support and protect a common brand in the area of cooperation, as well as to enforce the specific rules, protocols and production handbooks and guidelines able to ensure these conditions and peculiarities. The successful experience of the two Short Chain Markets organised in both the cooperation territories has been one of the most innovating results achieved.
In both project areas the dualism between modern and traditional agriculture is strong. This project developed pilot actions ”on-the-job” to be positioned in a larger integrated and sustainable development project covering an area wider than the local, regional and national one. It boosted skills of entrepreneurs and technicians, facing the lack of homogeneity in the approaches used for development initiatives. It achieved high training initiatives for the know-how and innovative practices transfer in both countries, favouring participatory subjects representing the territory interests to implement a successful collaboration between research centres, universities, business operators, the authorities and the political choices of agri-food, managing to offer a chains’ updating program and legislative/regulatory choices consistent with the local community need based on successful practices, such as the productive clusters/districts of quality, food safety and environmental sustainability.
At the end, the SERVAGRI cross-border basket of conventional and organic agri-food products triggers a change of attitude for producers, organising their chain’s production process; and for consumers, guided to transparency and high quality standards when buying food. This, through an applied research, producing 6 study visits “on the ground”, 40 case studies; protocols, toolkits and manual of good practices, production handbooks and guidelines, chain regulations, transparent labels, an umbrella quality mark. The two Farmers’ Markets held in April and June 2014 in Tunis and Syracuse, registered a full success of attending people and a great impact on rural producers and urban consumers, apart from a great media feedback and success. SERVAGRI contributed to the implementation of a concrete capacity building in agri-food sector, in increasing local empowerment, knowledge and awareness among workers and the creation of enthusiasm and confidence of people on the many potential opened up.
- Little entrepreneurs/economic operators
- Decision–makers, officers,managers
- Government agencies, schools, hospitals, universities, prisons, local institutions, including ho.re.ca. sector
- Operators in agricultural, agri-food quality and safety sector
- Category representatives.
- Small farms and family agriculture operators
- Producer organisations
- Public administrations
- Specialists in agriculture and agri-food sectors
- Small and medium enterprises
- General consumers/population.
Improving the culture of food information to producers and consumers from both countries, increasing their sensitivity on the subject and paying attention to quality guarantees, transparency and traceability offered by the products to consumers, so they can gain materially in levels of health, so contributing concretely to savings in public spending for health care related to illnesses caused by unhealthy or harmful diets.
The project organisms are: Steering Committee, responsible for overseeing the interventions running, coordinate and manage all project activities; General Coordinator, directing all project activities in accordance with the SC and in collaboration with Local Coordinators; a General Secretariat and a team with significant experience in managing projects financed by EU and development programs support him; Local Coordinators, one per partner; Local Working Groups, skilled in the project intervention fields, with specific tasks and flanked by experts. In particular:N.3 Senior Experts skilled in development projects; N.2 Consultants skilled in monitoring and technical assistance; N.1 communication expert; N.1 Webmaster expert in communication by new media;N. 2 Secretaries skilled in the management of communication flows; N.1 Project manager skilled in the management of the project life cycle in problem solving and project management; N.11 agronomists; N. 2 skilled socioeconomic animators
The major difficulty has been the delay in the payment of the second fraction of financing, by the Managing Authority, for almost a year. This circumstance led to a sharp slowdown of project activities, as all partners had exhausted their resources. To remedy this situation, it was repeatedly requested to extend the end date of the project; these prorogations have been granted.
Another aspect may be the initial difficulty we faced to involve Tunisian institutions: only when they have touched the project concrete results, they have massively adhered and supported the SERVAGRI Observatory but, at the project beginning, the majority of them did not want to be involved in this, totally new for them, adventure.Evidently, there is a lack of updated legislation and appropriate or updated rules, that raises many fears in a number of local bodies.
To meet the new challenges of the EU2020 strategy, implemented in Italy by the CIPE decision N. 57 of 02/08/2001 "Strategy for the environmental application of sustainable development in Italy", SERVAGRI aims to support and stimulate procedures for the use of sustainable environmental resources, the promotion of local environmental heritage and the green economy development, especially in the agribusiness.
Also, the project promotes initiatives and cultural events to increase and disseminate skills and sensitivity in the field of smart, inclusive and sustainable development, while giving a strong message about the importance of quality, traceability and food safety towards the use of land, water and the local environment. Main example in this direction are the four pilot actions for olive oil, honey, organic products and short chain agri-food products, as well as the Handbook of good practices and the Short Chain Markets organised by the SERVAGRI Observatory in the transboundary area.
The project is in progress, but working great for duplicability and transferability. In fact, expected results currently attained are having a multiplier effect out of the target area, helping to improve the competitiveness of small and family managed enterprises in the agri-food sector. Also, the project is improving relationships between all the parties in the medium-long term to promote transnational cooperation in local planning for integrated, sustainable and shared local development. Private category organisations, events’ organisers and promoters of interests also towards operators belonging to related sectors are increasing their knowledge of both sides, base necessary to trigger synergistic cooperation process and dynamics of sustainable and eco-friendly development. The SERVAGRI Observatory is becoming a common reference point for operators involved in the cross-border territories for sharing common sustainable development strategies in the free trade Euro-Mediterranean area.
Communication and dissemination activities are implemented according with a specific Communication Plan. Among the several tools implemented, we stress:
N.1 Web Portal (www.servagri.eu); N.1 Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/servagri.eu); Participation of the General Coordinator at the Technical Seminar "Rural development in the Mediterranean" on 4-5/02/2014, during the X Meeting of the14 Ministers of Agriculture of the CIHEAM in Algiers, N.1 TV report on RAI 3 (telecast named MEDITERRANEO http://youtu.be/bWnBF1f0dzk). N.1 article on the CIHEAM Watch Letter n°24 of March 2013 http://www.servagri.eu/index.php/fr/revue-de-presse?download=34:watch-letter-ciheam-n-24-march-2013. N.1 workshop organised by the “Italia Lavoro” Agency, in Tunis on 27/02/2014, which has seen SERVAGRI protagonist. SERVAGRI Observatory organised the 1st Farmers’ Market in Tunis, on 26-27 April 2014, an innovative event of great success