|The SALSA project|
RTRS participates in a project with the title knowledge-based Sustainable vAlue-added food chains: innovative tooLs for monitoring ethical, environmental and Socio-economical impacts and implementing EU-Latin America shared strategies (the capital letters being the projects initials), also known as SALSA Project, a research project funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the University of Bologna (UNIBO, IT), that started on May 2011.
RTRS is one of the 12 partners of the Project that are widely spread in Europe and Latin America. This regional distribution will guarantee a more effective dissemination and exploitation of project results where needed. The project partners are: University of Bologna, University of Wageningen, University of GENT, Forschungsinstitut Für Biologischenlandbau Stiftung, Proquantis LTD & Co KG, CBHU, Federal University of Viçosa, EMBRAPA, RTRS, BEMEFA, Independent University of Mexico, Solidaridad Latin America.
In June 2011 the kick-off meeting took place in Buenos Aires, and in July a second meeting was held in Bologna (Italy) were all partners could coordinate the activities that will be developed during the following three years when it is expected to arrive to successful project results.
SALSA project is strongly oriented towards jointly granting Small and Medium (SMEs) companies and small scale farmers a sustainable development and market access through standards and regulations compliance. This objective asks for a joined action where mainly two groups of stakeholders, with different perspectives, interact: the first is represented by the policy makers, the consumers and other stakeholders’ organizations from civil society influencing the regulatory framework definition. To the second group belong agro‐ food SMEs, small scale farmers and other businesses involved in the entire food chain. Their (and the whole food chain) performances are influenced by their compliance with regulatory framework.
At the start the project assesses the regulatory environment defining the standards and regulations influencing both SMEs and small farms access to the markets for gathering sustainable productions. Then consumers and other food chain stakeholders’ preferences towards sustainable food consumption are measured. By matching the different regulations and standards with the pointed out preferences, a data base will be designed (and made available to stakeholders) in order to set up a comprehensive list of standards and regulations which the SMEs and small scale farmers should comply with, in order to effectively enter the local as well as foreign markets
The results obtained in terms of improved understanding of the actual bottlenecks constraining the sustainability of the local and export market of Latin America food added‐value chains will be tested and adapted to additional SMEs part of different food chains (throughout a SALSA Industrial Platform) and implemented, with the consultation of international experts of the entire food chain (throughout a SALSA Advisory Board with consultancy role). These actions will be a continuous challenge for the SALSA project in order to provide feedback and starting a virtuous circle of mutually beneficial relationship between food companies, research and education institutions, policy makers, consumers and the civil society in Latin America and EU.