Table 3 “Agriculture and enhancement of agri-food products, forest management and wood supply chain”, set up on October 16th during the General Convention on Mountain Areas and convened by the Minister of Regional Affairs and Autonomies, Sen. Erika Stefani, was held on Thursday, 31st January, at the UNCEM headquarters in Rome, with the aim of gathering contributions from Institutions, Universities, Research Institutes and Associations.
UNIMONT – Center of Excellence of the University of Milan – with its research center Ge.S.Di, Mont. has been carrying out concrete actions in the mountains, to promote the development of mountain territories for years and made a practical contribution to the discussion, focusing on the role and the crucial importance of agriculture in mountain regions and the urgency for action to exploit this potential. Mountain agriculture is, in fact, essential for the management and for the economic enhancement of mountain areas, fundamental for the maintenance and safety of the territory, the conservation of the landscape and the real sustainability of tourism, commercial and craft activities.
Indeed, agriculture is a real cornerstone for the economy of mountain areas in difficulty for years due to a lack of specific policies designed to exploit its potential and to compensate for a lack of competitiveness due to the application of rules and practices developed for territorial systems and production models that can not be implemented in the mountains.
Urgent action is therefore required to generate real results, starting from a review and reformulation of regulations and functional interventions aimed at reducing bureaucracy, developing and offering useful services, also online, favoring the unification of land and the set-up of businesses, especially by young people who increasingly approach the mountains with specific training, creativity and enthusiasm. The commitment to promote research activities to identify innovative tools and strategies to enhance the unique and valuable resources of mountain areas, such as biodiversity of agronomic interest, local varieties and breeds of which the mountains are rich, which can really make mountain farming competitive, are equally important.
Promoting the development of mountain farming also means fostering a broad, inclusive educational and cultural process which, while on the one hand must promote ongoing training – indispensable even in the mountains in an increasingly complex society – on the other must make the whole of society aware of the role and economic value of the service rendered to the community by the mountains and by those who choose to live in such areas and work to manage and look after them.