Food quality and security is at the base of the prosperous development and well-being of the Mediterranean region and it must be seen in a context of multiple dimensions and disciplines.
During its first meeting, EMEG identified research topics and niches that more than others would enhance market opportunities, having potential for new jobs, start-ups and winning public-private-societal partnerships in relation to the above societal challenges.
At this regard, the main focus on this Societal Challenge is to valorize and give impulse to the socio-economic development of rural areas, particularly those falling in the arid and semi-arid domain of the Mediterranean region. An increase of sustainable agriculture practices in these areas would decrease migration of local communities while preserving cultural heritage and local natural resources.
The following topics were found favorable for the uptake of research results and development of market opportunities in this area:
- Promoting sustainability in agriculture in the Mediterranean region taking into account traditional agriculture, innovative technologies, organic farming for the empowerment of rural communities.
- Policies and governance to integrate technologies with traditional food production systems, promoting food safety and security.
- Innovation in local Mediterranean food chains.
In order to ensure market opening, competitiveness and job opportunities, the following results and solutions were proposed in order to frame the research in above topics:
- Innovative precision agricultural technologies in all food value-chain and efficient resources management.
- Food-chain logistics reducing food lost and waste.
- Quality schemes certifications via participatory approach / group certification.
- Pre and post-harvest pathogens control.
- Local biodiversity to adapt to climate change and enhance competitive local traditional food and on-site awareness / training courses and schools.
- Long shelf life techniques.
- Bio-districts to boost rural economy for creating new jobs.
The above solutions are also the opportunity for the setup of public-private-societal partnerships involving, along the all research process cycle, the following actors:
- Farmers and food producers.
- Food and biotech industry / SMEs.
- Academia and research centers.
- Investors (i.e.: ethical groups of buyers).
- Policy makers and local authorities.
- Women associations