Photo credit: Guillermo Palacios Rodríguez

Building synergies with local actors in Los Pedroches

by | Feb 14, 2022 | MOVING

by University of Cordoba team

In November 2021 part of the MOVING team from University of Cordoba (UCO) left their offices and headed for the Valle de Los Pedroches region, in the north of the province of Córdoba (Andalusia, Spain).

Immersed in the analysis of the documents, reports and research articles on the value chain of the Iberian ham PDO Los Pedroches, the UCO team decided to spend a day with the stakeholders and to get in touch with the reality on the ground (i.e., to understand how the stakeholders work in the territory and how they are related to the production of Iberian ham).  The aim was to reinforce contacts with local actors and inform them of project process and the next steps that are going to be taken.

MOVING is a research project based on citizen participation, so, it is very important to maintain ongoing relations with local actors, and to listen to their concerns and perceptions of their daily work. In this sense, the UCO team can gradually and deeply understand this value chain in all its complexity, including its final contribution to the resilience and sustainability of the region and the dehesas (the unique agrosilvopastoral ecosystem where Iberian pigs are reared).

During this one-day field trip, the UCO team had meetings with people involved in the rural development of the region, with Iberian pig farmers and with other groups that look after the interests of the producers and processors of Iberian ham (PDO Los Pedroches). They kindly opened the doors of their workplaces and farms, allowing the team to enjoy walking through the pastures while having relevant conversations for the next steps of the project.

With the information obtained from these interviews and the ones that will come, the UCO team will map the network of actors that conform the different stages of the value chain, to identify the values (economic, environmental, sociocultural) that are generated in each stage, as well as the opportunities and challenges, the territorial capital, and the whole process that finally brings this delicious ham to our table.

The mission is to investigate the running process of the PDO Los Pedroches Iberian ham value chain in-depth, in order to understand how it works, and to co-develop, with social actors, capacities that will enable them to face changes and challenges in the present and near future, such as climate change or depopulation.

The UCO team wants the project to become a useful tool for the territory in its search for sustainability and resilience and, ultimately, to find a way to translate the needs and demands of the stakeholders to the European Commission, in order to influence the next generation of rural development policies.

Analysing the territory through the lens of the value chain lets us understand how the production of Iberian ham PDO Los Pedroches is related to the cultural landscape of which it is a part, with the natural environment that makes it possible, and with the production of the other goods and services that also sustain life in the territory.

The conservation of the unique dehesa social-ecological system depends mostly on the sustainability of the activities that take place in it, and how they interact with the environment to sustain the region, its people and the landscape they build every day. So, it is key to develop policies and governance configurations to support these practices that contribute to the resilience and sustainability of the region.

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