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1 Introduction to the importance of quality in the conceptualization of a territorys image Cécile Levret, Euromontana.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Introduction to the importance of quality in the conceptualization of a territorys image Cécile Levret, Euromontana."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Introduction to the importance of quality in the conceptualization of a territorys image Cécile Levret, Euromontana

2 2 Who is Euromontana? An association comprising a wide network from East, West and Central Europe: 56 Organisations from 17 European Countries A diverse and multi-sectoral field of competence: regional development agencies, local authorities, agriculture organisations, environmental agencies, forestry organisation and research institutes. Its mission: promoting sustainable development and quality of life in mountain areas: Through exchanges of experience, dissemination of strategic information, studies and conferences

3 3 Quality features of mountain products and their connections with mountain territories Key point: The presentation will be partly based on a project conducted by Euromontana from 2002 to 2004 on mountain quality food products

4 4 Context and background 19% of the European population is living and working in these areas BUT: survival of activities including farming is fragile due to permanent handicaps linked to relief, isolation, climate, etc. AND: recent reforms of community policies and the enlargement of EU offer new measures for rural development but also represents new challenges for the most fragile regions.

5 5 The European and world economic context tend to marginalise these regions and their products meet difficulties in finding a place in the market under a pure economic logic BUT overexploitation or the abandonment of land management are neither solutions for these areas nor for the future of natural resources that they offer to the current and future societies. AND benefits have to be taken from the wide and diverse assets of mountain areas.

6 6 Quality of products and local development… This initiative that aims at characterising the quality of products and ensuring its promotion as specific product has the objectives of creating added value and providing local development via this quality. This strategy is relevant and adapted to farming constraints and to richness of these territories. Additionally mountain products benefit from a positive image to consumers. BUT the quality feature of these products should not be a myth… common characteristics and criteria fitting any European quality food products should be identified.

7 7 5th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development 13 partners from 8 European countries 10 study areas 122 food products studied

8 8 Quality features of mountain products QUALITIES of mountain products Conditions of production/ process and environment Intrinsic quality - Traditional species - Biodiversity in flora - Land use/ extensive production - Fresh waters - Traditional process - Use of natural, local resources - Traditional practices - Respect of seasons …

9 9 The quality features of mountain products have 2 origins: Human practices for production and process adapted to mountainous constrains and conditions; Mountainous environment and natural resources linked to climate, altitude and slopes – connections identified in 80% of the cases. Connections between local environments and the mountainous practices and/or food products seem to be the main factor for success of development and adding value to mountain products.

10 10 While intrinsic quality is the main point of entry into the project, it is not the only dimension of quality which mountain products can - and indeed should - leverage. Farming practices in this comparative harsher environments do have positive effects on the territory (in terms of multifunctionality) This probably means that it is the combination of extrinsic characteristics and intrinsic quality which products the set of values that provides the foundation of the « mountain » identity of the products.

11 11 From this assessment, Euromontana designed a European Charter for Mountain Quality Food Products. One of the key idea of the Charter is that: the quality of products can not be disassociated from that of the territories where they are produced. This Charter which specifically addresses food products, targets greater satisfaction of the consumers of these products but also the local populations and tourists visiting these regions ( = territorial consumers).

12 12 European Charter for Mountain Quality Food Products 2 principles out of the 5 set out in the Charter are related to this connection between quality and territory: 3- Enterprises and farms which process primary agricultural resources in order to manufacture mountain products must be adapted to their geographical environment. They must take into account the concerns connected to sustainable development. The production methods used respect the environment and in particular the water quality present in the territory in question and integrate erosion risks. 4- The production and processing structures for mountain food products must encourage in their activity the maintenance of biological, genetic and cultural heritage of mountain areas, the development of the local knowledge-base of mountain areas and the management of rural areas and landscapes. On top of that, the 2 first principles stress the need for primary materials coming from mountain areas and to keep all process stages within mountain areas.

13 13 Conclusion This project enabled us to identify common denominator of quality features of food products over Europe. On the basis of the Charter, Euromontana wishes to develop a European designation and coherent promotion of and communication on mountain products that would state the same set of attributes and would not claim for a specific one…

14 14 Thank you for your attention !

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