On 12 May 2021, in the morning, the 6th stakeholder meeting of the Regions 4Food Interreg Europe project was held online by South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency (hereinafter: STRIA). During the event, the current state of readiness of the project’s action plan and its political background, as well as the strategic recommendations of the partnership were discussed, followed by a presentation of the project’s pilot action.

At the beginning of the event, an update of the Regions 4food project action plan was presented. First, the two selected actions were introduced, one of which is Action 2 – Encouraging cooperation between agri-food stakeholders. The aim of this action is to promote and implement cooperation, thus contributing to improving the competitiveness of businesses and reducing their fragmentation and isolation. In its second phase, the action will enable the actors concerned to be approached, presenting them with existing cooperation, international and national good practices, professional actors, helping them to identify the areas where cooperation is most needed and then coordinating and promoting it. The other is Action 3 – Supporting the agri-food sector by encouraging digital technologies, which aims to raise awareness, deployment and dissemination of new technologies that will shape the future development of the agri-food sector. At the end of the presentation, the results of the policy background studies of the project were discussed, as well as which priority of Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme could be affected in the next programming cycle 2021-2027.

The second presentation was a discussion on strategic recommendations. In a new version of the document, the seven recommendations have now been developed in more detail so that they can be discussed with agri-food stakeholders. The seven recommendations are as follows:

  • Creating a legal framework for data management, analysis and sharing: more public open data platforms and interoperability.
  • Creating innovation ecosystems and coordinating and consolidating existing structures that facilitate links between all stakeholders to boost the digitalisation of the food value chain.
  • Increase public and private investment to support the digital transformation process
  • Support of technological solutions and specialized hardware and software in the agri-food sector by ITC companies and development of digital infrastructure across Europe
  • Develop multidisciplinary training and create a new professional profile related to innovation.
  • Raising awareness and communication.
  • Create opportunities for joint planning/development of initiatives, programs and technological solutions in the agri-food sector.

In the third presentation, the participants were introduced to the pilot action of the project, which DDRIÜ and the Kaposvár Campus of the Hungarian University of Agricultural and Life Sciences would like to implement together. External experts from the University of Seville in Spain will assist the work. The project is scheduled to start on 1st September 2021 and will last for one year.

The Regions 4Food project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.