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agroBRIDGES kicks off, a new EU project to improve farmers' positioning in the agri-food chain

SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS, Technological Corporation of Andalusia (CTA) and Impact Hub Madrid are participating in agroBRIDGES, an EU-funded project under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, focused on building bridges between consumers and producers by supporting short food supply chains (SFSCs) through the development of a systemic, holistic, multi-actor approach-based toolbox.

The agroBRIDGES toolbox will gather a combination of communication materials, training programmes, events, and Information Technology (IT) tools, positioning itself as the ultimate instrument that will provide practical support to producers, consumers, and distributors, improving farmers position in the value chain. To this end, the project will mobilise local farmers through SFSCs, focussing on decreasing intermediaries and their margin.

SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS, CTA and Impact Hub Madrid will work for 36 months in close collaboration with other twelve partners from eleven countries to make an ambitious contribution to the Common Agricultural Policy, unlocking the full potential of Europe’s inner wealth by placing producers as a cornerstone for boosting the European agri-food sector.

Both regional and international approaches will be considered along the project, where 12 beacon regions will be involved in the creation of this multi-actor framework, directly engaging approximately 400 people in information collection, knowledge exchange, co-creation, co-development, and validation of project outputs.

SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS, as expert in market uptake, will lead the exploitation of the project results, and will produce some of the communication materials for the agroBRIDGES toolbox, including the elaboration of e-learning materials for training programmes.

“We are glad to participate in a new project focused on the agri-food sector“, states Jesús Serrano, Deputy General Manager of SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS. “This is a key sector for the sustainable development of the European economy, in which we have been gaining expertise thanks to other projects related to the bioeconomy, such as ICT-BIOCHAIN, UrBIOfuture and BIOSWITCH, where we also collaborate with CTA”.

From its side, CTA coordinates the work package dedicated to maximising and replicating project results in Europe. It will also lead knowledge transfer actions, including the creation of a training programme for cluster managers, innovation agents and public administration

“With the participation in the agroBRIDGES project, CTA continues to support the deployment of the bioeconomy in Spain, particularly in Andalusia, as one of the sectors with the most potential to generate wealth and employment in the region,” says Nathalie Chavrier, Technical Oficer of the Agri-Food Sector in CTA.

As the third Spanish consortium member, Impact Hub Madrid contributes to the development of economic, social and environmental sustainability measurement systems through social impact assessment. Moreover, Impact Hub Madrid will support the project in the dissemination of surveys, as well as in the testing of the agroBRIDGES Toolbox in Europe thanks to its extensive network: IH Network and EU Cluster. With the latter, Impact Hub Madrid will collaborate in the dissemination of the project results and in its visibility.

“For Impact Hub Madrid, the sector of sustainable food production is a priority at the moment, and the participation in the agroBRIDGES project represents the support and promotion of sustainable systems that guarantee food security and nutrition for all people. We want to contribute with our experience as an international network where different projects have already been carried out in this area”, says Leyre Romero, Head of Sustainability projects at Impact Hub Madrid.

Improving farmers’ position in the farming chain

The agroBRIDGES project proposes the development of an agri-food multi-actor framework and a set of practical support tools to improve local producers’ market positioning and decrease intermediaries’ margin. Full EU roll-out, replication and training will be conducted, supported by a strong dissemination campaign and coordination with other EU projects and initiatives, through a clustering plan.

The main expected impact in the short term will be 150 stakeholders trained on topics related to food procurement, mobilisation of innovative agri-food supply chains, and support of local producers. Meanwhile in the medium-, long-term, it is expected a 5-8% increase of farms involved in direct sales to consumers and a rise in farmers’ income thanks to the developed new SFSCs models.

About agroBRIDGES

Led by Q-PLAN INTERNATIONAL, the agroBRIDGES consortium is formed by the Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, FruitVegetablesEUROPE, CTA, Impact Hub Madrid, Munster Technological University (former ITT), Rezos Brands, Sustainable Innovations, Sabri Ulker Foundation, Unimos Foundation, Vegepolys Valley, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, and Wageningen University.

In total, €3 million in funding has been granted to agroBRIDGES under the European Union’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. For their part, the Spanish partners have received more than €500,000 in total.

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