The 3rd Transnational Networking Workshop of the Interreg Adrion INNOVAGRO Project was organized by Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the European Union (INSULEUR) in their headquarters in Chios.

The aim of the workshop was to critically examine the formation of clusters among the participants, which would promote the extroversion of agro-food companies in Adriatic- Ionian Area and whose capstone would be the production and circulation of a Memorandum of Understandind (MoU).

The 3rd Transnational Networking Workshop commenced with INSULEUR’s president Mr. Joseph Borg delivering the introductory speech. Mr. Borg highlighted the importance of INNOVAGRO Project in the Ionian- Adriatic area and, in particular, he underlined the fact that such projects tend to enhance communication among different sectors, which in turn will ensure that this sector will continue to thrive.

Moving on, experts in the field of clusters and extroversion presented best practices in the field of agricultural innovative projects. Mr. Apostolos Goulas first part presentation shed light on four case studies. The first case- study focuses on the German-Danish cross-cluster cooperation in “intelligent logistics”.

The second case- study refers to a Californian wine cluster, which consists an extensive complement of industries supporting both wine making and grape growing exists, including suppliers of grape stock, irrigation and harvesting equipment, barrels, and labels; specialized public relations and advertising firms; and numerous wine publications aimed at consumer and trade audiences. The cluster also enjoys weaker linkages to other California clusters in agriculture, food and restaurants, and wine-country tourism.

The third case study, Terra Thessalia Lactis cluster project contains several small dairy industries from the Region of Thessaly and several institutions (university of Thessaly, cooperative banks, support organizations, research centers).

The fourth case study focuses of THESGALA (pun intented meaning “Do you want milk?”). Dairy farmers from the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia in Greece have found a new way of bringing fresh milk to customers.

In the next part, Ms Antoaneta Kuhar, Head of the Project Management Office, presented the innovative the innovative cluster “Integrated Weed Management: Practical Implementation and Solutions for Europe”. In the beginning of her presentation, Ms. Kuhar provided core information on the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia.

Within her presentation, Ms Kuhar put emphasis on several projects, among which were ECOBREED and TREASURE. In particular, ECOBREED aims at increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of organic crop breeding. The main focus of ECOBREED is to improve the availability of varieties and seed suitable for organic and low-input production.

Regarding the project TRESURE, its aim is to improve knowledge, skills and competences necessary to develop existing and create new sustainable pork chains based on 20 European local pig genetic resources. According to the description of the project, TREASURE is built upon the inherent value encompassed in local pig breeds, their production systems and product qualities.

Establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

After the presentations of the experts, the participants were actively engaged into further discussion and brainstorming. Innovation and transferability of a cooperation-collaboration network was the key parts of the discussion.

What factors should be taken into consideration for identifying a cluster? The cornerstone factors are deemed to be the spatial scale (local, regional, national), the level of interaction, the breadth of sectoral coverage, and the focus on firms or sectors. Nonetheless, what we should bear in mind is the uniqueness of each cluster. In other words, there is no “ideal” cluster as such but what stands out is the unique style of innovation in each cluster.

One of the cornerstone objectives is to pursue the Sustainable development goals in accordance with the SENDAI framework and the Paris Agreement. With respect to the question about triple or quadruple helix, quadruple helix was preferred.

The signatories to this Charter shall commit themselves to defending and supporting these goals and encouraging “good” processes and good production practices, as they at the same time shall aim at a clear and daily exercise of local democracy and assurance of consensus in decision-making, Involvement of participatory governance processes on the logic of multi-dimensional partners.

For more photos check HERE, and for relevant press releases check HERE (see press release 7).