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V4-WB6 Incubator for Digital Farming (IDF)

On May 2018 a new V4 project starded. The main goal of the Incubator for Digital Farming is to create a meeting place for professionals, regional and national project team members including students that are having ideas, PoC, start-ups or acting as freelancers. IDF will help both, agriculture and IT students to become more competitive by means of digital technology. IDF allow any student with start-up idea to access the latest knowledge, expertise and technology for testing and experimenting with digital innovations for agri-food purposes.

Three universities from Albania, Skopje and Pristina will open calls for idea submission regarding use of ICTs in agriculture. Best ideas will be selected and then developed in coming stages.

Pre-selected ideas/teams will be invited to deliver a pitchdesk presentation in front of the consortia committee.

3 days intensive coaching and monitoring of selected ideas at each universities will result in a short list of 6 people per country.

5 days intensive acceleration and coaching of the ideas/startups at Szent Istvan University in Godollo for topics in:

-Facilitating transfer of technology in-depth knowledge;

– Market research clinics and marketing advice on reaching all size farmers

-Business plan evaluation done at different stages of the incubation programme. –

-Scientific support through direct linkages with academic departments and faculty who do work relevant to their Digital Farming products

– Assistance in finding loans, grants, etc.

Best solutions/products will be awarded with small seed grants to support their lunch on next level. Financial awards going to first, second and third place respectively.

New EU funded project starts

On July 2017 a new EU funded project has started. Balkan Med INNOVA is going to be implemented by a consortium of six organisations coming from 5 different Balkan countries.

The consortium is composed by:

• Technological Educational Institute of Epirus – Special Account for Research Funds – DCE – Greece

• Joint Innovation Centre of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences – Bulgaria

• Youth Entrepreneurial Service Foundation – FYROM

• Rural Association Support Programme  – Albania

• Cyprus University of Technology – Cyprus

• VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTER OF THE REGIONAL UNIT OF LESVOS S.A.-Greece

The overall objective of BalkanMed INNOVA is to support both existing SMEs or potential new start-ups, through training, exchange of knowledge and expertise, technology transfer; their key-persons and entrepreneurs to acquire new skills, get acquaintance with business environment at partners’ countries. To create new business opportunities, establish and consolidate transnational networks at their business sectors and to adopt innovative practices (through education, training and mentoring). These objectives are directly correlated with the program objectives which is to support entrepreneurial learning and to improve SMEs entrepreneurial skills and competitiveness.

BalkanMED INNOVA aims to enrich the knowledge and capacity of  young entrepreneurs and early stage researchers to overcome the gap of information, knowledge and specialized support and mentoring.  BalkanMed INNOVA objectives aims to enhance entrepreneurial learning capacity, train SMEs’ staff to advanced technology and provide them with the required skills in the international competitive business environment. It focuses to to 4 economic areas of great strategic importance for the socio-economic development of the eligible countries 1.Tourism & Cultural Heritage (TCH); 2. Agribusiness (AGRI); 3. Information & Communication Technologies (ICT4SMEs) 4. Energy & Environment (EE). It also provides mentoring and coaching to possible entrepreneurs and includes the stimulation of entrepreneurial mindsets, encouragement and creation of innovative business start-ups, and generally foster the entrepreneurship culture.

BalkanMed INNOVA Project aims to create a unified Territory of knowledge from North Albania and FYROM to Cyprus and from Ionian Seat and Aegean Sea to Danube, where there will applied virtual based tools and novel approach for learning and vocational training of entrepreneurs, technology and knowledge transfer that will set-up the Web School. Beyond the joint training, it is expected that through the E-tutoring and peer mentoring consultations actions for start-ups young entrepreneurs  will create their own new businesses by the end of the project.

On march 2017 RASP as part of the consortium has started implementing the project “Collaborative platform for ICT in Agricultural Extension in Western Balkan based on V4 best practices (AEWB-ICT)”.

This project is implemented with the support of Visegrad fund. Project areas are Hungary, Slovakia, Czech republic, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia.

The main objective of the project is to establish a collaboration platform among key stakeholders in the agri-food sector in V4 and WB for the purpose of creating the foundations for adoption of ICTs in AE in WB, based on the experience of the V4. Exploiting regional experience in the area of ICTs in AE enables faster synchronization of the agri-food industry among partner countries resulting in higher economic development in the region.

Project results:

Transfer of knowledge and experience in using ICTs in AE

Transferring of already existing knowledge and experience in using ICTs in AE in V4 will enable faster and efficient adoption of these technologies in AE in WB and avoidance of unnecessary bottleneck in the process.

Gathering V4 experience in using ICTs in AE and understanding farmer’s behavior in WB

Encountering the valuable experience in using ICTs in AE in V4 with good understanding of farmer’s behavior in WB will enable creating the foundation for customized model for adoption of these technologies in WB

White paper disseminated to key stakeholders in the system of AE in WB and V4

The white paper consisted of the conclusions from the final event in the project has the purpose to guide each of the stakeholders (Governments, AE, ICT Companies, Farmers’ organizations) to efficiently fit in the process of implementing ICTs in AE in WB

On June 2016 RASP start implementing Capacity development iniciative with four farmers groups in 3 different regions. These initiatives are being implemented with the support of SARED.

Capacity development initiative on Small Ruminants VC: Dried goat meat

This initiative is being implemented in Hasi region. In this initiative RASP is working with one farmers group in Cahan. and one with farmers group in Gjinaj, both in Hasi municipality.

The purpose of this initiative is to develop e new product (dried goat meat, based on local tradition

The situation was thoroughly analyzed and main objectives have been formulated. Those are

1. To build the capacity of farmers to improve the drying process and food safety for dried meat.

2. Improve processing infrastructure and guarantee the standardization of the product and quality control

3. Develop a promotional campaign for introducing goat dried meat in the market.

This capacity building initiative will continue for one and a half year, and will include, trainings of farmers on technological aspects of drying process, trainings on improving managing techniques, study visit, support on developing marketing and packaging etc. An important element will be involvement of women in all aspects of capacity building, going through very case tailored approach.

Capacity development iniciative on Small Ruminants VC: Increasing meat production from sheep

This initiative is being implemented in Elbasani region. In this initiative Rasp is working with farmers from Shtermen. Farmers group in Shtermen has two main products. One is lamb production and the other is sheep milk production.

The aim of project is increasing farmers income through improvement of farming techniques and intensification of meat production, applying intensive reproduction scheme “three lambings in two years”

The main objectives of this project are:

• To establish and jointly develop a perspective plan for the production and marketing of sheep meat (lambs).

• To increase Their technical capacity and improve their breeding techniques, nutrition and animal selection.

• To introduce new technology of hormonal treatment for intensive lamb production (two lambings per year in a part of the flock.

• Several farmers apply for SARED grants program to get support for investment and equipment to be included in the value chain (processing, marketing of meat and improving the technology of breeding animals)

Capacity building in the framework of Fruit trees and nuts VC: Dried fig

This initiative is being implemented in Berat region. In this initiative RASP is working with farmers of Roshnik, Roshnik I vogel, Mimias. Vojnik etc. There is a good tradition in producing and drying figs in this region. Almost of farmers have long experience in growing figs, as well as drying them

The main objectives of this project are:

• To build the capacity of farmers to improve the drying process and food safety

• Improve infrastructure to improve the standardization and quality control

• Develop a promotional campaign.

• To set up a business plan and sustainable trade channels

This capacity building initiative will continue for one and a half year, and will include, trainings of farmers in aspects of fig production, in technology for drying process, trainings on improving managing techniques, support on developing marketing and packaging etc.

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