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Italy allocates more than 4 million euros to research in organic farming

The call provides for a public selection procedure for the granting of subsidies to present research projects within the scope of funds available for research in the organic farming sector.

1/11/2021

Italian crop field.

"Our objective is clear: to strengthen the entire organic supply chain, which we consider an increasingly strategic sector for Italian agriculture towards integrated sustainability identified by the green agreement, the farm-to-table strategies and the new CAP as a unavoidable cornerstone for the agriculture of the future : this is how the Italian Minister of Agriculture, Teresa Bellanova, expresses it about the new call by MIPAAF for research in organic agriculture published in the Official Gazette.

The global budget is 4,200,000 euros, with a ceiling set for each project of 300,000 euros, with coverage of up to 90% of the expenditure admitted to financing. Research projects must be oriented towards the improvement of organic productions, the innovation of the production processes of organic companies, the transfer of technology, the use and dissemination of research results and the dissemination of the benefits and advantages of the organic agriculture.

Universities and public bodies have the possibility to present within 45 days from the date of publication in the Official Gazette. their own project proposals, which may provide for the participation, as "operational units", of other private entities that have research and experimentation among their statutory purposes and that do not pursue profit. On the other hand, the participation in the project activities of at least one organic or biodynamic company is mandatory, under penalty of inadmissibility of the project.
The strategic axes that will guide the projects are of great breadth and relevance: from genetic improvement to mechanization, through the agroecological approach in organic farms to processing techniques, through the reduction of inputs, sustainable development of the territory, environmental protection , forestry and landscaping. In addition, projects aimed specifically at two segments such as Nursery and Medicinal Plants, sectors increasingly closer to the dynamics of organic farming, may also be presented.

"The definition of the themes and the participatory approach that the announcement contemplates are the result of a process of sharing with the organic sector, through the involvement of the permanent coordination committee for research in organic and biodynamic agriculture", says Bellanova. "Created in 2016 with functions of strategic orientation for research projects in the organic sector, the Committee foresees the participation of the Regions, representatives of the sector and organizations supervised by the Ministry". "From these projects we expect useful indications for the achievement of the objectives that agriculture is called upon to pursue between now and 2030," she continues. "We cannot ask farmers for new commitments," says Bellanova, "if we do not guarantee constant support in research and innovation, which allows farms to maintain their competitiveness in the market. That is why it is necessary to propose organisms that include the proposals for specific and concrete activities to disseminate the results of the projects This call is one more tool to support a sector that also sees Italy first in Europe by number of operators, with more than 80,000 ecological companies. Extremely valuable in light of what the pandemic has taught us, putting food safety, health and correct information first. They are essential objectives, which highlight the absolutely strategic nature of our sector and of the agri-food chain. The text of the bases of the call have been published on the institutional website of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.

Research topics included in the call

1. Genetic improvement in organic agriculture;
2. Reduction of external inputs in organic production;
3. Transformation of organic products;
4. Organic nursery gardening;
5. Organic medicinal plants and organic aromatic plants;
6. Agroecology in the organic farm;
7. Mechanization;
8. Sustainable development of the territory and protection of the environment, forests and landscape


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