This pilot action will explore market incentives for groups of farmers making a joint commitment to standards in conservation management. Pilot area demonstrations will be conducted to show how voluntarily agreed production standards can be developed locally, and then translated into commercial benefits to provide a long term incentive for conservation management.
The objective is to establish systems which offer added-value to products from an area in which farmers have made a joint commitment to conservation management.The Tool of this pilot action will be the development of marketing and branding methods, which will link a controlled logo and branding strategy to guaranteed quality standards for products and nature-friendly land management. This will deliver added value for producers making this commitment. The project is caried out in the Tarnava Mare area, which has about 25 villages in 85,000 hectares. After the pilot actions, the scheme will be spread more widely, regionally, identifying interested communities throughout High Nature Value farmland in Romania.
Implementation will be by
Thus, cooperation between producers in a defined area will be stimulated by commercial incentives, environmental benefits will be increased by scale and connectivity, and volume and credibility of high-quality natural products will be built up, linked to a branded identity for the given natural area. This result will be sustainable, since it is achieved by the market and is not dependent on continued public sector payments which have very high transactions costs, especially in landscapes dominated by small-scale holdings. It is precisely such landscapes that are linked to High Nature Value farming.
We aim to achieve this through a bottom-up approach, in which group certification schemes can be developed locally, suiting local conditions, and without cost to the farmers in order to ease access for smallholders to the natural food market. The project will explore specially the use of Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS).
We will develop the pilots in a High Nature Value farming area, Tarnava Mare, central Romania. Through the project we will make producers aware of the importance of ecosystem values, which add quality to products coming from this area. The key is to establish a link between the landscape and food quality in the minds of consumers. The legal basis will be a process of certification and branding, with registration of the brand.
Small scale farming communities, farmers and farmer associations, producers, intermediaries such as guest houses/restaurants in the area, and finally consumers.
Project started in June 2017. During 2017 we have identified/confirmed the three pilot areas, have had meeting with farmer associations, and had discussions with branding and certifciation specialists and with retailers. We have set the stage for implementation, since we now have assessed the producer willingness, certification methodolgies, and market interest.
Starting February 2018 we will begin workshops in the pilot areas, to develop local and unique certifciation standards and marketing strategies.
This locally-based model of development of standards, control and marketing has not been carried out in Romania. It is very suited to the High Nature Value farmland areas of Romania, characterised by strong local character, and small-scale farmers who must work together to survive in today’s commercial environment.
None yet – by 2019, will be 5,000 – 10,000 ha.
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