On the first day of the three-day event, Monday, 25 November 2019, a Project Steering Committee meeting took place in Velingrad, where the Regions 4Food interregional partnership reviewed project management, communication dissemination, and experience exchange activities. The main topics were: completion of documents of the semester 2 project-level report, compilation of current semester 3 report, interpretation and role of Good Practices, press coverage, use of social media for project purposes, report on influencing the policy instrument, communication-dissemination indicators to be achieved and an overview of the tasks of semester 4. Several comments and questions of South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency Nonprofit Ltd. (hereinafter: STRIA) were related to the discussion and the Lead Partner provided clear answers to each of them.
On the second day of the Bulgarian program, Tuesday, 26 November 2019, an interregional workshop was held in Velingrad. In the current third semester of the project, the project partners organized four study visits: in September 2019 in Seinajoki, Finland and in Seville, Spain. In October 2019, these were followed by a study visit in Venlo, the Netherlands, and at the end of the month the project partners met in Bologna, Italy. STRIA by its employees, or by delegating its stakeholders took part in all visits except for the Italian one. On Tuesday morning, each partner presented those Good Practices that they learned about during their study tour participations and were also relevant for their own operational programme or strategy addressed by Regions 4Food. Presentations included the very first drafts of the proposed interventions (actions) of the partners. In such a spirit, STRIA proposed five possible actions related to the five areas of intervention relevant to the agri-food innovation and digitization of the five measures of the Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme priorities No. 2 and No. 1. During the afternoon, the Regions 4Food Lead Partner delivered two presentations, one on the project action plan template and its detailed content, another one on the policy recommendation for better traceability and more extensive digitization of the agri-food industry for the period 2021-2027. The presentation on action planning was complemented, among others, by a presentation by the Italian partner of the project, the Emilia-Romagna Region, as regards the practical aspects of action planning.
Taking into account what has been said, the Regions 4Food action plan template will be completed by the Lead Partner by the end of January 2020.
On Wednesday, 27 November 2019, the program ended with a study visit at the Agricultural University of Plovdiv. During the morning we heard lectures on Bulgarian agriculture, the history and competencies of the host university. This was followed by Good Practice Demonstrations on the role of agriculture in social employment / social enterprise (Land Source of Income Program and Foundation), the NEFERTITI Horizon 2020 project (developing innovative solutions for soil nutrient content, agricultural irrigation water, and insecticides in use). Another Good Practice, also described in more detail, was aimed at developing information technology education (National IT career training program) for secondary school students.
The next project Steering Committee meeting, interregional workshop and study visit will take place in between 12-14 May 2020 at Pécs and Kaposvár.
The Regions 4Food project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the State of Hungary within the Interreg Europe Programme.