On January 25th 2017, AREPO held its General Assembly in Brussels, at the common house of Hessen, Emilia-Romagna and Nouvelle Aquitaine. On this occasion, AREPO signed a cooperation agreement with the European Research Group (ERG) SYAL and started the process of creation of its scientific committee.
The European Research Group (ERG) SYAL gathers together thirty research institutions of eight European countries, promoting research and education on localised agro-food systems at the European level.
The Assembly was chaired by the President of AREPO, Vincent Labarthe, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Occitanie in charge of Agriculture. In the morning the Assembly discussed the activity report presented by the President.
The Deputy Governor of Primary Sector Economy of the Region of Crete, Theano Vrentzou-Skordalaki, described the regional strategy of valorisation of quality and origin products. She also invited AREPO members to the next plenary meeting that will be held in autumn 2017 in Crete.
Furthermore, the Minister of Agriculture of Lombardia Region, Gianni Fava, in his speech shared with the Assembly some critical reflections on GIs valorization strategy. He proposed to further share best practices and solutions to assure that protection and promotion of GI products are accompanied by a dynamic growth of products’ added value.
In the afternoon, the plenary meeting has been focused on research and innovation on Geographical Indications (GIs) and localised agri-food systems (LAFS).
The Minister of Agriculture of Emilia-Romagna Region, Simona Caselli, introduced the afternoon session presenting the regional experience on Operational Groups for Agricultural Research and Innovation. She also presented Origo, a European and international event dedicated to the promotion of EU Geographical Indications in the world. The first edition of the event, promoted by Emilia-Romagna Region and the Italian Government, will be held next 11-12th April in Parma, in occasion of Cibus Connect 2017.
Finally, Professor Filippo Arfini, from the University of Parma, was invited to present Strength2Food, a 5-year EU-funded project that started in March 2016. S2F aims at providing the EU and its Member States with evidence-based recommendations on quality policy implementation. AREPO has been invited to participate in this project as a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Board.
Other points in the agenda were CAP simplification and modernisation, AREPO surveys on RDP measures on quality schemes (M3) and on operational groups (M16.01), 2017 work programme for promotion policy, and AREPO participation in AGROSMARTcoop project which aims to attenuate the disadvantages of rural areas and to promote their development through the support of their agri-food cooperatives.