Young, skilled and cooperating: the under-40 breeders of Lucania
The Pride and excellence of Basilicata, the Cooperative “Edere Lucanum” of Brindisi Montagna is a clear sign of vitality of young agriculture in Basilicata, a demonstration that entrepreneurs under 40 have the skills and ability to cooperate and care for their territory. Made up of about forty young farmers from the villages of the Alto Basento and Camastra areas, Edere Lucanum breeds the geographical collective brand “Lamb of Lucanian Dolomites”. It succeeded in activating cooperation in agriculture, producing high quality meat, and promoting itself and the territory of Lucania on the national level.
Two among the forty members are agronomists; like the others, they have invested time, money, and above all passion for making Basilicata a better place, where one can build competitive and sustainable enterprise projects, by maintaining their roots with an eye on the future. Their story is similar to those of many young people who are willing to invest in agriculture, contribute to generational turnover and pin the rural world of Basilicata on the future.
“Basilicata has a zootechnical heart and its sheep and goat sector has always played an important role in the regional economy. Even today Basilicata has more than a hundred thousand head, raised in more than a thousand breeding farms, but the barely profitable prices for milk and meat, and the difficulty of commercialising “Made in Lucania” sheep products, have often thrown the farming into crisis” explains Vita, the first president of the cooperative, who after two years has passed the baton on to Giovanni, another young agronomist and breeder. Lucania’s answer to these threats was the implementation of a regional project for the short chain between producers, breeders and distributors. The collective mark “Agnello delle Dolomiti Lucane” was created in 2008 on the initiative of GAL Basento – Camastra, together with the Provincial Breeders Association, the Professional Agricultural Organisations, the Department of Agriculture, the University of Basilicata, the former Comunità Montana Alto Basento, Camastra Alto Sauro and the Chamber of Commerce of Potenza. The agricultural cooperative “Edere Lucanum”, the sole owner of the brand, has the merit to work every day in order to provide consumers with an excellent product whose origin is certified because animals are reared, slaughtered and sold directly by producers. Making revenue in agriculture is also possible through skilled young people who respect the environment and cooperate with each other.
The deliciousness of the meat which characterizes the Lamb of Dolomiti Lucane is due to the richness of the regional mountain pastures and the regulations. Consumers are guaranteed traceability, certification and food security not only by the Brand “Agnello delle Dolomiti Lucane” but also by Italialleva, a body of the Italian Breeders Association (AIA), which is a further warranty. Today the Lamb of Dolomiti Lucane is one of the Traditional Agroindustrial Products (PAT) of Regione Basilicata. Thanks to the collaboration with Coldiretti Basilicata, the cooperative has come to an agreement with Coop Estense, which will involve IperCoop stores of Puglia and Basilicata.
Edere Lucanum plays a key role in representing an agricultural model for Basilicata. The cooperative system can be an extremely good way to create new jobs and focus on young farmers’ professionalism and ability to collaborate. The project is able to protect consumers’ health, give back the bargaining power to entrepreneurs when defining prices and fair income, and enhance the quality and typicality of the products of Lucania as well.