When Innovation Meets Tradition: The Case of “Riso & Rane” Rural District in Lombardy Region

Giovanni Ferrazzi, Vera Ventura, Sabrina Ratti, Claudia Balzaretti

Abstract


Lombardy, with 87.393 hectares of rice is one of the leader region for this production in Italy and in the European Union (EU) too. This area is characterized by a strong connection with tradition both in terms of agricultural landscape and food culture. Nevertheless, during the last decade, farmers faced increasing competitiveness issues, mostly related to EU subsidies losses, market prices and the technical constraints of the traditional rice supply chain: provider of technical means, farmers, brokers and rice mill. In this scenario, the “Riso e Rane” Rural District (R&RD) supports farmers in improving competitiveness through innovation. The aim of the paper is to investigate the innovation in the rice supply chain related to the specific action of R&RD, that accounts for 60 farms. Starting from the direct survey carried out on the district productive structures, we investigate the farms' degree of innovation related to the adoption of a new model of supply chain. The case study areas is characterized by rice that represents the most important culture with 2.773 hectares (more than 58% of the district Utilized Agricultural Area (UAA)). In 2012, R&RD won a regional project titled “Buono, Sano e Vicino” with the aim to help local rice farmers developing an alternative supply chain in which the district grow into the local actor to increase farmers bargaining power and promotes new market strategies. To make this the attention was focused on one of the most important variety of Italian rice: Carnaroli. The main results of the study showed that the project was able to innovate the traditional supply chain in all the four innovation areas according to OECD (2005): product, process, market and organization. In conclusion, our results suggest that the R&RD is able to respond to farmers necessities in term of market competitiveness and to improve the sustainability of local food system.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2016.1604

ISSN 2194-511X

 

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