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LandSTATE - sustainability of Tourism and Agriculture through Total consumer involvement.

LIFE97 ENV/P/000152


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Contact details:

Project Manager: José Joaquim DELGADO DOMINGOS
Tel: +351 21 8417371
Fax: +351 21 8419163
Email: jjdd@ist.utl.pt



Project description:

Background

Despite the fact that extensive agriculture provides important economic, social and environmental benefits (including conservation of biodiversity, regulation of hydrological and carbon cycles, carbon fixing and conservation of cultural landscapes.), it faces decreasing financial viability, due to the reform of agricultural policies and the globalization of markets. Its replacement by intensive agricultural methods has given the rural environment high short-term economic benefits, but at a cost. These agricultural methods have been responsible for not only producing serious negative environmental impacts such as water pollution by nitrates and pesticides, high water and energy consumption, but also for threatening food security. New solutions for a more sustainable rural development, based on biological or organic agriculture and rural tourism, are being tested in most EU countries, but have acknowledged problems achieving viability. For example, biological agriculture only occupies 0,5% of land area in the EU whilst rural tourism in Portugal only achieves an average occupation rate of 12,1% . If rural sustainability is to be achieved, and in particular farm sustainability, it depends on establishing a strong connection between the farms and the consumers which can strengthen the bonds between the rural and urban world. The LandSTATE project proposed to build on the results of project MISART – Integrated Modelling, of an Environmental, Rural and Tourist System also financed by the LIFE program.


Objectives

The LandSTATE project, proposed to test the hypothesis of the environmental and economic sustainability of an integrated solution for a sustainable rural development. This integrated system would consist of a pilot experience on a farm near Covilha which would produce quality food products and provide rural tourism to urban consumers from Lisbon. These consumers would receive the food products through a personalized service and would simultaneously be the objects of environmental education. The project would be based on Quinta da Franca, a farm in Cova de Beira, with an area of 470 hectares and which is characterized by great landscape diversity: dryland, irrigated pastures and annual crops; oak, pine and eucalyptus forests combined with olive groves. Through the company Terraprima, the project would attempt to unite environmental considerations with economic ones and develop an interactive relationship between the company and the consumers, based on mutual communication and information. The project would develop an integrated approach between different sectors and areas: Agriculture, Tourism, Agri-Food Distribution chains, Marketing, Monitoring and Dissemination. The project expected to achieve an economically viable entrepreneurial model, which would fulfil quantitative goals related to soil, water, fauna, flora, landscape, energy and emissions and rely on the support of a set of faithful environmentally aware customers.


Results

The project went some way to prooving that a sustainable agri-food system depends to a great extent on its ability to convince the urban consumer to pay a sufficiently high price to cover environmentally-friendly production. The price of the Terraprima products was finally established at a value that allowed the farmer to apply environmental measures and increase product quality (food security, organoleptic characteristics) and also covered all the costs from the farm to the sales point. In return, the consumer received personalized information on food security and environmental protection which guaranteed the environmental quality of the process and product. The project succeeded in gaining the crucial support of the targeted consumer groups, and were able to introduce two successive price increases until reaching the viable price threshold. On the agricultural front, the project tested and evaluated new environmentally friendly processes before incorporating them into the integrated system. Several components of sustainable agriculture were tested: conservation tillage, cover crops, legume-grass multiple cropping, manure application, elimination of concentrate feed and use of agri-food residues for animal nutrition, organic production of scent and medical plants, recovery of traditional irrigation system, harvesting of spontaneous plants and the maintenance of traditional landscape structure and forestry areas. As a result the project consolidated reduced energy consumption, regulation of the hydrological cycle, soil fertilization with manure and protection against erosion and conservation of important wildlife habitats, whilst creating employment. A system for distribution of mutton and beef was created, involving live transport, local slaughtering, carcass transport, packaging and commercialization. On the marketing side, the Terraprima brand was created and promoted widely with a quality image which included posters, leaflets, and stickers. The products were accompanied by information on the production process, characteristics of the product, environmental impact assessment and information on product use. Commercialization was carried out at a specialized shop in Lisbon with an established reputation for quality products and personalized contact with its highly educated medium to high income consumers. Consumers were also encouraged to visit the farm to see for themselves the optimum conditions achieved. In tourism, the project ran into problems with a planned motorway extension but completed the conversion of agricultural buildings to create an education and visitors center which were then were used for study visits and training in aromatic and medical plants. Throughout the project detailed monitoring was carried out both on energy, environmental use and consumption and on consumers interests and concerns. Through this there was a gradual increase in product prices, determining consumers willingness to pay. Effective dissemination was crucial to the project through the two web sites, publications, presentations and undergraduate and post-graduate study visits.In recognition of its effort, the project won two national prizes : National Environmental Prize in 1999 and the Forum Ambient Prize 2000 Research Category.


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Services & Commerce - Tourism and Accommodation
Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry


Keywords

chain management‚  organic farming‚  consumption pattern‚  tourism‚  rural development


Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Land & Soil
  • Regulation 2078/92 - Agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the prot ...
  • Industry and Product Policy
  • Regulation 1980/2000 - Revised Community eco-label award scheme. Information provided in the Comm ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Instituto Superior Técnico (IST)
Type of organisation University
Description Instituto Superior Técnico (IST)is a public polytechnic which aims to promote quality education and research in the fields of Engineering, Science and Technology at both graduate and post-graduate levels. It is the biggest Engineering Faculty in Portugal which offers degrees in Environmental Engineering, Land-use planning, Civil Engineering and Mechanical and Chemical Engineering. IST cooperates with over 150 Companies and Universities from throughout the EU. They have been responsible for developing and managing a large number of EU and Portuguese National projects including Bioetechnology, BRITE/EURAM, Environment, Thermie, Joule, Joule III, Human Capital and Mobility. This project is jointly developed with a series of other organizations (see Partners)
Partners Terra Prima – Sociedad Agricola, Lda is an agricultural company based on the Quinta da Franca whose mission is to promote sustainable economic activities in the rural context. Direcçao Geral de Florestas (DGF) promotes the sustainable development of forestry, energy and water resources and was involved in the agricultural management of the project Camara Municipal de Covilha (CMC) is the municipality in which the Quinta da Franca was located Camara Municipal da Lisboa is the municipality where the links would be established with the consumer

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Project reference LIFE97 ENV/P/000152
Duration 01-JAN-1998 to 01-JAN -2001
Total budget 597,246.00 €
EU contribution 296,370.92 €
Project location Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal)

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Read more:

Brochure Title: LandSTATE Technical Leaflet Author: IST
CD-ROM Title: CD Rom on Dissemination of Science and Technology, Ecology, Evolution and Environment.
Project web site Internet Site
Publication: Article-Paper Title: Um laborotorio no mundo real, uma empresa ambiental e social. Author: Domingos T. Year: 1999 Editor: Liberne 66/67
Publication: Case study Title: Ligacao do productor ao consumidor: contribuiçao para uma estratégia de desenvolvimento sustentable Year: 2000
Publication: Case study Title: Energia e sustentabilidade em rebilitaçao de edificios rurais: um estudio de caso. Author: M. Lopes, T domingos, M. Aguas Year: 1998 Editor: Qualiram 55

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version