Author: Carla Lostrangio (AEIDL)
On 31 January and 1 February 2023, SHERPA held its third Annual Conference under the title of “Co-creating rural futures” in Montpellier, France. Approximately 100 between online and in-person participants participated to the conference to reflect and contribute to SHERPA’s recommendations for the future of rural areas, as well as about the sustainability of its 41 Multi-Actor Platforms. Recommendations for resilient and sustainable value chains were one of the main topics of discussed during the conference, but also widely targeted by several SHERPA MAPs within their Position Papers published by the end of 2022.
SHERPA’s work on resilient and sustainable value chains
All along the project’s implementation, the SHERPA project has set up 41 Science-Society-Policy interfaces that have met up and deliberated on several topics. Resilient and sustainable value chains was selected as the main topic of discussion in the second cycle of SHERPA MAPs’ discussions. These discussions resulted in 15 MAP Position Papers (already available in SHERPA website), and one SHERPA Position Paper on resilient and sustainable value chains (soon available). Both types of Position Papers collect recommendations from SHERPA MAPs’ members for policy and decision makers at local, regional, national and European level.
SHERPA’s main recommendations for policies
On 31 January, Estelle Midler from the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) presented the main SHERPA’s recommendations for more sustainable and resilient value chains. This review was based on the analysis of all SHERPA MAP Position Papers done by Julia Bognar (IEEP) and Gerald Schwarz (Thunen Institute).
Some of the SHERPA’s recommendations presented include:
- The need to facilitate education and training to address the real needs of farmers;
- Provide financial support for rural areas, and having more flexible funding criteria;
- Increase the resilience of producers by avoiding short-term funding;
- Decrease bureaucratic burdens by streamlining administrative procedures; and communicating sustainability and its benefits to farmers and consumers.
Feedback from rural actors in the conference
Representatives from SHERPA MAPs also intervened during the discussion to bring on their own experience and insights on the topic. This was the case of Monica Tudor, from the European Rural Development Network and involved in the three SHERPA MAPs in Romania (Arges, Iasi and Transylvania), who insisted on the need to build a market demand for sustainable products. In addition, Géraldine Caprani, representative of MAP Pays Pyrénées Méditerranée in France, presented how Territorial Food Projects ended up being a smart tool for supporting agricultural and food transition in French rural areas.
Participants agreed that farmers and consumers often do not understand the real meaning of “sustainable” and “resilient” food products, nor its benefits along the entire value chain. Hence, they agreed that CAP Strategic Plans should have a key role to make value chains more sustainable and resilient and there should be specific effort to upskill farmers and other rural operators.
Browse through the dedicated conference page to learn more about SHERPA’s recommendations for resilient and sustainable value chains as well as the conference report.
SHERPA Position Paper on resilient and sustainable value chain will be soon available in SHERPA’s website!