EIP-AGRI workshop on New Value Chains from Multifunctional Forests
Supply chain, marketing and consumption
Multifunctional forests offer diversified opportunities of sustainably optimising the usage of natural resources and creating rural development opportunities. That is why they play a key role in the successful implementation of the EU bioeconomy strategy.
In order to explore innovative approaches in creating new values from multifunctional forests the EIP-AGRI network organised, with the support of the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, a two-day workshop in Vienna on 10-11 November 2016.
More than 80 participants from 20 Member States attended the event and shared practical experiences in establishing new value chains from multifunctional forests. The value chain examples were diverse and included leisure services, food, non-food and agroforestry products, such as the use of cork for 3D-printing, birch sap, drinks made from spruce needles, fees for recreational mushroom picking or woodland eggs. More about the presented cases can be found here.
The importance of collaboration between actors, innovative ideas and business models, and a good understanding of market needs/potential were highlighted by workshop participants as the key elements for the establishment of new value chains.
It was also stressed that the success of new value chains depends on the existence of adequate enabling conditions such as legislation, advisory and financial support and capacity building opportunities.
According to Gerhard Mannsberger, Director General of the Forestry Department in the Austrian Federal ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management,
“The framework for the forest sector has changed dramatically and there is nowadays a much stronger social and economic pressure to diversify the number of products and services that our forests can provide. Politics need to support this diversification through adjusted legislation/regulations, capacity building of actors and other services.”
“To foster the competitiveness of the forestry sector it is necessary to close the gap between research and practice”, highlighted Antonella Zona from DG AGRI, “The EIP AGRI promotes the concept of multi-actor Operational Groups which are a powerful tool for overcoming this gap and fostering interactive innovation.”
Although the concept of EIP-AGRI Operational Groups (OGs) is currently not well known in the forestry sector and relatively few OGs have been set up to-date around forest related issues, the participants were positive about the possibilities this tool offers.
“This was a great workshop and I learned a lot. I hope I’ll be able to build an Operational Group on agroforestry in Corsica”, concluded Carole Anziani from the Environmental Office of Corsica, “There may be challenges, but it will be worthwhile to try”.