Project partner ADEPT hosted 25 participants to come together on the 29th of November, 2022 in Romania for the first training course on market links for high-value nature.
The course brought together best practice examples from Romania in order to create a unified body of knowledge which can be useful as a generic course, for farmers and other interested actors across EU countries, as well as being specially adapted to Romanian conditions. The course covered the whole value chain from production, processing including hygiene regulations, packaging and labelling and branding linked to nature value of the landscape, and different routes to market and contact with consumers.
Participants are following the theoretical part of the course
The concept of Agricultural Areas with High Nature Value (High Nature Value Farmland) appeared in the last 20 years in the European Union to promote the types of extensive agriculture practiced in certain areas and countries, which can bring important benefits both to nature, by maintaining biodiversity and of the natural landscape – semi-natural meadows and mosaic agricultural areas (crops, hayfields and forest curtains), as well as to society through the conservation of cultural landscapes and the knowledge related to their management in obtaining high quality food.
For the farmers who maintain these grasslands and mosaic crops by preserving agricultural traditions, the viability and sustainability of these resources is closely related to maintaining the main means of subsistence for their families. In addition to this very local aspect, these communities provide public goods of inestimable value to the wider society: water, air, clean soil, quality food, biodiversity and the maintenance of cultural landscapes. Very often, however, these benefits are not rewarded.
HNV farmers are no different from other farmers – they produce for a market, whether it is home consumption or local trade. But the harsh reality is that many HNV farmers abandon their traditional lifestyle only because it is no longer economically viable – because the income is too low, the costs are too high or there are other opportunities to survive and/or to -make a living (eg the availability of cheap food at the new local supermarkets or a job in the ever-growing construction industry). A key aspect of supporting HNV farming systems is therefore the encouragement of better productivity to support the transition from sub-subsistence to semi-subsistence and the resulting surplus.
Sheep grazing in Vrancea, Romania
Participants in the field for the practical part of the course