Summary of the Project
Organic agriculture represents a solution to achieve food safety and security and environmental sustainability that account for joint challenges, consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals. In 2003, during the 1st Euro-Med conference on agriculture, 37 ministries agreed on its role in the social and economic development and as potential tool for enhancing the Euro-Med partnership. Despite the sector’s evolution and organizational differences among Med countries as well as the economic decline of agriculture (Eurostat, 2017) in MPCs, common issues need to be improved to trackle emerging challenges appropriate policies to boost competitiveness starting from MSMEs needs knowledge and innovation transfer to MSMEs boost of organic sector stimulating the aggregation of enterprises in value chains.
ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM aims at enhancing organic MSMEs through the creation of a CB Organic Ecosystem in collaboration with Public Authorities and private actors. This is pursued by the scaling up organic value chain through the establishment of new Med business alliances. The Project involves PPs from 7 Med Countries where Competent Authorities, in charge of sector’s policy and surveillance, are involved and ensure project results sustainability. Objectives are reached by a CB Organic Ecosystem and a common strategy;
Consultancy services for business development to facilitate SMEs in innovative value chain creation; Local Labs to share knowledge and support new business alliances and international business events to facilitate MSMEs market access and the link with research. N. 150 MSMEs are involved and at least 24 organic MSMEs are directly supported. Project final beneficiaries are agro-food MSMEs at large and consumers that benefit at all levels from a trustful organic sector
Cross Border Impact
ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM has a high CB added value due to the involvement of 7 ENI Countries (EG,JOR,GR,IT,LB, SP,TUN) where organic agriculture is characterized with differences in terms of development and organisation, but shares same aforesaid needs and challenges. Specifically, in the EUPCs the organic sector is more developed and organized than in the MPCs. Differences exist also among MPCs: the sector in TN is well developed and institutionalized due to the governmental support; in JO a policy framework is present since 2010 but not implemented and the sector is at its infancy; in LB local market, driven by private actors, is developed but sector’s surveillance and trust are poor; in EG despite the importance of the sector, governmental support and policies are lacking. This heterogeneity is an added value to ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM since it allows dynamic discussion and participatory exchange of experiences; it gives opportunities for new solutions to boost competitiveness, improve product quality and strengthen trade capacity in new international markets. Thus, the CB cooperation aims at involving, CAs in charge of policy development, and, especially, MSMEs in: designing a CB strategy and challenges starting from local level (WP3), promoting collaboration among chain actors to successfully access the increasingly complex agro-food markets both for quality and trade rules requirements (WP4) and launching innovations and creating opportunities for collaborations in CB business events (WP5). ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM thus clearly contributes to the achievement of the ENI programme PRIORITY A1.2 through the creation of the CB Organic
Boosting and spreading the organic sector in the Mediterranean has a direct impact both the environment and also on Countries’ economic and social conditions since it leads to leverage of income (as experienced in EU). ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM pursues this aim at cross-border, national and MSMEs level. Agro-food MSMEs benefit from business development tools and services provided thanks to the collaboration between PPs and Competent Authorities. Open access to Data Base, training/coaching for developing new skills and design of more successful value-chain scale up and enhance MSMEs competiveness. This is also boosted by the creation of business alliances exploring CB opportunities and having access to sustainable innovation suitable for increasing income and creating new job opportunities. 5% increase of new jobs (short terms contracts full and parttime) is expected for enterprises benefiting from consultancy service and 20% for enterprises directly involved in the project
Five countries take active part in all project activities: training, consultancy, value chain agreements and CB Labs and international events. Business development of organic MSMEs is supported also by the involvement of CAs which are, in turn, already promoting cooperation and policy dialogue since 2006 by the MOAN.
Tunisian farmer’s syndicat (SYNAGRI) – TUNISIA
The innovation proposed in ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM consists in the cooperation among actors of organic and innovation chain supported by PPs and CAs and based on a bottom-up approach in view of building a strong inclusive organic sector and creating high-value organic market chains. It builds on extensive researches carried out by FAO, WB, UNIDO etc. proving that such forms of collaboration are effective tools for sustainable development facilitating successful market access. The experience of LACTIMED project demonstrates that boosting innovative value chain through sharing best practices, know-how and innovations facilitate the development of local territories (evolutionary approach).
Moreover, the project foresees Local labs arising from EU Living Labs, as open ecosystems where businesses and research bodies can interact to create, test and validate new products/services and supply their feedback on the application of innovation under real conditions and in a specific territorial context.