ECOPIONET: Innovation and Bioeconomy in the Rural Environment
Knowledge exchange network established to foster multi-actor collaboration and sharing around organic agriculture.
ECOPIONET is an EIP-AGRI Operational Group that introduces an innovative knowledge exchange methodology based on building a network of actors in the field of dryland organic farming. The network includes farmers, scientists and researchers to improve the actors’ knowledge of agroecosystems, new technologies, farm management and commercialisation. It supports farmers to increase their farm profitability whilst simultaneously promoting organic and/or more environmentally-friendly practices that protect the environment and increase the farmers’ capacity to adapt to climate change.
The project was developed in the dryland cereal areas in Spain’s interior (Salamanca, Toledo and Guadalajara), where production has been abandoned massively for different reasons, including climate change. As a result the viability of many farms has been compromised. ECOPIONET promotes organic farming practices, conversion and marketing, as these systems allow for greater adaptation to climate change and provide the tools for farm businesses to increase profitability. Organic farming practices help secure the farms’ economic sustainability and guarantee their viability over time. The network establishes a knowledge exchange system where various actors (farmers, researchers, technicians, industry representatives) share their knowledge and viewpoints to support climate adaptation.
A knowledge sharing network has been successfully established between farmers researchers, scientists, industry representatives, technical advisors and associations engaged in organic farming . The structure and activities of the network have created a dynamic flow of information amongst the actors ranging from practical experience and knowledge to scientific findings from formal trials. This approach has given rise to producer organisations and associations promoting organic production, empowering farmers through solutions and insights into best practices, value-added strategies, and enhanced capacity to improve their environmental impacts from production and adapt to climate change.