The NUTRIMAN Consortium consists of 14 high-quality partners and 4 associated partners from 8 EU countries.
This week we are introducing Andrea from AREFLH in France.
What kind of organisation is AREFLH?
The Assembly of European Horticultural Regions (AREFLH) is a pan-European association that aims to represent and defend the socio-economic interests of European regions and producer organisations active in the fruit and vegetable sector. Created in 2000, it gathers today 20 European regions and 25 Associations of Producer Organisations in 7 countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain), which globally represent 55% of the total production of fruits and vegetables in Europe.
Our main working areas revolve around the Fruit and Vegetable Common Market Organization (CMO), the Common Agricultural Policy reform, the promotion of EU agri-products in the internal market and third countries as well as agricultural research and innovation policies. This last topic represents a key segment of our work and is the main reason why AREFLH is highly engaged in EU funded research programmes such as Horizon 2020 or the upcoming Horizon Europe.
What is your role in the NUTRIMAN project?
Our main contribution lies within supporting the flow of practical information towards farmers throughout Europe. More specifically, to transfer the know-how gathered to all industry stakeholders such as producer organisations, farmers, advisory service providers and policymakers. Furthermore, AREFLH will contribute to the creation of training materials and practice abstracts that will synthesize, present and promote best practices in an accessible and user-friendly way. AREFLH will also support the organization of conferences, workshops and webinars to further spread NUTRIMAN’s results.
What about the NUTRIMAN project triggered your interest and what do you expect to gain from it?
Currently, the EU agricultural sector strongly depends on imports from external sources for the supply of key N/P fertilisers, which makes EU farmers vulnerable to price fluctuations. Therefore, ensuring an efficient, economically viable and environmentally safe nutrient management strategy is of key importance for all agricultural practitioners. In our view, NUTRIMAN’s objectives, such as the identification of new and ready-for-practice nutrient management and recovery technologies, will have the potential to impact fruit and vegetable growers by providing them accessible and practice-oriented knowledge on innovative technologies that respond to the challenges they face in the field of nutrient supply.
How can NUTRIMAN contribute to the nutrient management problems that farmers face in Europe?
Europe is highly dependent on nutrients to ensure an effective agricultural productivity and food production, with the ultimate objective of guaranteeing food security for European citizens. However, the exponential growth in the flow of nutrients has caused important environmental and public health impacts such as soil and water quality degradation, eutrophication and increased greenhouse gas emissions. In order to respond to these challenges, EU farmers have adopted strict nutrient management plans to meet the double challenge of producing food for all at an affordable price while reaching environmental targets.
There has been an important progress made towards fewer nutrient consumption and losses thanks to technology and policy support (precision nutrition, FaST tool, innovative products). More particularly, nutrient recovery and reuse technologies have had a central role as they offer a sustainable contribution to improve the efficiency of nutrient management. Furthermore, they represent an intelligent diversification of sources of nutrient supply for the EU, which is highly dependent on imports from third countries. To this end, NUTRIMAN will promote innovative technologies close-to-market application that will allow better use of unexploited biomass products, therefore providing farmers with new alternatives to achieve competitive and sustainable production processes.
What are the main advantages of EU projects such as NUTRIMAN?
Thematic networks such as NUTRIMAN significantly improve the information exchange between scientists and practitioners, assisting the latter in making informed choices when it comes to adopt and user new farming practices. As a thematic network and multi-actor project, NUTRIMAN’s findings are expected to be ready to be applied in practice and to cover real needs. Moreover, farmers benefiting directly from the results of the projects will be more motivated to use them, because they were involved in the whole process since the beginning.