What do you think of social innovation in agriculture, of its impact on the agri-food sector, and of the new synergies between agriculture and creative industry?
In order to innovate, we must start with the products of tradition and the awareness that their now well-known quality, typicality and values must be protected, preserved and organised with adequate protection measures in order to combat the increasing counterfeiting of "made in Italy" food farming, and so make them a tool for innovation and economic development for local businesses and communities. Agriculture is certainly the sector on which we should bet for creating opportunities for development and cohesion also in the southern regions. In that respect, it is important to strengthen the link between territory, food habits and food and wine traditions: all of which provides identity and development to local communities. Therefore, we need initiatives able to promote the direct sale of farm products, the "food and wine roads" linked to local products and to quality wines, the tourist valorisation through typical food, the Museums of food and rural tradition, a catering service which recalls local recipes and products, even in public canteens, and tourist hospitality aimed at the enhancement of local food traditions.
The "Land of stories" project is strongly in tune with the strategy that CIA has set with the national elective assembly of last February, for which we need "more agriculture to feed the world, more income for farmers", and with the regional strategy "the primary role of farmers for a competitive Basilicata".
What are the recent experiences implemented by CIA Basilicata at the territorial level which are in line with the social and cultural innovation in the agricultural world?
Among the most significant innovative experiences we can mention those which involved some associations working within the Confederation: Agia (Association of Young Farming Entrepreneurs) and Donne in Campo (Association of Female Entrepreneurs). The agriculture project "Futuro Giovane" implemented by Agia for a new season of Lucanian agriculture contains simple and concrete proposals: the creation of the 'Bank of the Land', a sort of public registry to which young farmers can refer for renting or buying land. They have also envisaged the setting up of an agency for land reorganisation to facilitate the access to land ownership and the establishment of mixed companies made up of entrepreneurs both young and old, where the elder owner, holder of the company, starts a partnership with the younger; moreover, they have launched measures for facilitating new farms through the access to credit and market, regulatory simplification, facilitated tax system and management support.
Generational renewal in agriculture is a crucial passage for Lucanian agriculture which contains within itself a fortune made up of products that farmers create, but also of culture of territories, traditions and knowledge that, very often, are not learned but handed down from generation to generation. Another subject of creativity is the association Donne in Campo which, aware of the activities undertaken by rural women and of the contribution they make, even in terms of innovation, to the economic, social and cultural development of rural economies, have established the Award Donne in Campo, a recognition which is given every year to holders of innovative initiatives, researchers and journalists. To remain on the subject of women's creativity, the project "Menù della Via Herculia" with which we try to dignify the tradition and manual skills of many owners of holiday farms and the rural Lucanian cuisine according to the specific typicality of local menus of the different holiday farms existing in our region.
What are the projects and actions implemented for the coming months?
For a couple of years CIA has been working on the project "Piano del Conte", in synergy with Ases (Solidarity and Development Association). The project's primary objective is the integration and inclusion of immigrants into the local workforce and social-cultural system. It is the concrete realization of a strategy that aims for real integration of immigrants, especially in agriculture thus becoming an authentic laboratory. The depopulation of the whole region, insufficient human resources to be used in the farming and agri-food sectors, the high rate of aging of farming entrepreneurs which is not balanced out by a generational renewal are critical issues for our territory, to which immigrants, with their presence and work, can make a decisive contribution.
According to CIA, a significant step forward to favour generational renewal in agriculture is the government's package #campolibero, which invests in young people and bets on “Made in Italy”, innovation of product and process, e-commerce, and business networks.