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How to reach farmers in disseminating Rural Development: A Good Example from Emilia-Romagna

The Challenge

The regional government of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy realised that the knowledge dissemination in rural development has been under-performing in the region so far and has wanted to improve this situation. As in many other cases, the information channel between the administration and the farmers wasn’t being effective enough. To tackle this issue, the challenge was to develop a demand-driven structure that would better facilitate the channeling of information from the administration to the farmers on informing on the rural development programmes (RDP). At the same time, farmers can explain and choose the kind of advice and training they want to receive, improving the effectiveness of the services offered by the administration.

The Solution

In order to establish a better communication structure, the regional government developed the network “Catalogo Verde”, a web-based resource promoting all offers of training, information and advice available to agriculture and forestry holdings in the region.

The “catalogue” counts nowadays more than 300 accredited training institutions and organisations. The service offerings are presented in the form of contracts, which will be signed between the service provider and the farmer who intends to buy it. For all vacancies available in the catalogue, farmers can apply for a partial reimbursement of the cost incurred (between 60% and 90% of the training services can be reimbursed under EAFRD). Thanks to this, farmers can have direct access to a wider offer of services at a lower cost than in the past.

Also, the training, information and counseling services are more realistic and attuned to the real needs of the farmers. As a result, farm business revenues and incomes have improved for service users.

Transferability

This kind of tool can help to inform mountain farmers about their options under rural development programmes and to better know the “rules of the game” when applying for a grant. Transferring this tool within your region could also give administrations the opportunity to inform, not only on rural development policy, but also on all other relevant policies at local and regional level: this will thus improve the knowledge on policies and tools of the stakeholders. In addition, this communication channel, identifying the training needs of the local society, would also support local and regional administrations to better link their actions with demands of the society at large, making local and regional development programmes more effective.

For more information you can check:

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Source of the image http://agricoltura.regione.emilia-romagna.it/azienda-agricola/temi/formazione-1/documenti-formazione/report-catalogo-verde-2008-2013

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25 February 2014

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