The importance of technical support in the return of traditional crops in the Alps: the case of rye in Camonica Valley
Leoni V., Pedrali D., Zuccolo M., Rodari A., Giupponi L., Giorgi A.
Multifunctional agriculture could be strategic for the recovery of some mountain areas of the Alps, and traditional crops like cereals generated study cases that triggered processes of development, such as rye in Camonica Valley (Northern Italy). However, farmers are often newcomers, and the specificities of low input agriculture make the training in agriculture fundamental. The impact of public workshops/seminars (organized by the Ge.S.Di.Mont. Research Centre of the University of Milan in Camonica Valley) on cereal cultivation between 2016 and 2021 was investigated. Moreover, rye produced in Camonica Valley was analyzed. The results show an increase in participation and a wider use of the streaming service. The percentage of participants not from an agricultural background had always remained about 50%, but decreased to 15.17% ± 5.07 in 2021, in contrast to the increase of professionals in agriculture and forestry. This is probably due to the accreditation of training activities for agronomists and foresters, and to the start of specific training projects regarding cereals. Samples of rye produced in Camonica Valley following the period of training activities were phytochemically/nutritionally characterized and compared to commercial rye. Locally produced rye proved to be comparable to the commercial one; however it showed a remarkable unevenness in secondary metabolite content and productivity, due to environmental differences and diverse agro-techniques.
mountain areas; sustainable development; training in agriculture; cereals; rye; plant agro-biodiversity; Italian AlpsLink