24 July 2020
CereAlp New Research Project funded by the Lombardy Region Rural Development Program (PSR).
A new Research Project with Regional Impact by the UNIMONT Ge.S.Di.Mont Research Center of the University of Milan has been approved: “CereAlp. Good practices for the cultivation and processing of alpine cereals and medicinal plants”. Project financed by the Lombardy Region – Rural Development Program (PSR). Starting in the autumn!
The CereAlp project originated from the desire to tackle three typical problems of the mountain areas of Lombardy, about which UNIMONT has gained extensive expertise over the years: the loss of knowledge relating to traditional local crops, the need to protect agrobiodiversity and the desire to trigger new and successful agri-food chains while at the same time promoting youth entrepreneurship in the mountains.
According to a recent study conducted by the Ge.S.Di.Mont Research Center (University of Milan), and published in the scientific journal Biodiversity and Conservation (Giupponi et al. 2019), over the last 70-80 years in Lombardy – a region rich in biodiversity and agrobiodiversity – more than 78% of the traditional local varieties (landraces)have been lost.
The cultivation of landraces, in addition to allowing the production of unique and eco-sustainable quality products, allows to enhance production areas and create income for those involved in the supply chain (farmers, restaurateurs, shopkeepers), therefore countering the abandonment of mountain territories, where these varieties are often cultivated and conserved. The loss of agrobiodiversity brings with it a loss of value and identity for mountain areas, a reduction in their attractiveness and a lower ability to create income.
To counter this situation, the CERALP project by Unimi and the Ge.S.Di.Mont Research Center – UNIMONT centre of the University of Milan – was set up, funded by the Lombardy Region – Rural Development Program (PSR).
The CereAlp project aims to spread good practices and knowledge concerning the cultivation/transformation of traditional local varieties of cereals, pseudo-cereals and medicinal mountain plants. Medicinal plants are therefore added to cereals and pseudo cereals as Lombardy is one of the main Italian regions to produce them and, just in recent decades, companies operating in this sector have increased by 41%.
In the “Research -> Regional Level Projects” section of the site you can find all the details on the project. Activities are expected to start in the autumn!