On 21st -22nd December 2022, the IURC China team conducted a study visit to the Lazio Region. The visit began with a hybrid meeting attended by the delegates from Zhengzhou city and the Lazio region. Both sides agreed on the scope and intended actions framed in the MoU, which will be signed on 31st January 2023. Both Zhengzhou and the Lazio region promote sustainable agri-food supply chains, and peri-urban agriculture is the key innovation for a resilient agri-food system. In 2023, the Lazio-Zhengzhou are planning to collaborate in knowledge exchange and capacity building on peri-urban agriculture, sustainable agri-food supply, urban community farming; Carbon sequestration and emission reduction in agriculture; Exchange programme for young talents/SMEs; Cooperation in agri-tourism. The cooperation is in the triple helix approach between the government, academia and private sector.
The common challenges for Lazio region and Zhengzhou are innovative approaches for urban agriculture: integration of existing knowledge and resources to develop peri-urban agriculture, identification of business opportunities for young talent in multifunctional agriculture, and the provision of policy and financial incentives for entrepreneurship in organic agriculture. In this aspect, the team observed three facilities in the Lazio region.
Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Lazio and Tuscany
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e Toscana (IZSLT) is a national public health control institution working in the fields of animal health, hygiene of livestock production & animal welfare, and food safety. Under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, the institute operates as a technical and scientific instrument within the National Public Health Service for the Lazio and Tuscany Regions as well as for the Italian State Government. The institute´s initiative to foster collaboration with Chinese partners in:
- Animal health and epidemiological surveillance
- Food safety and veterinary public health
- Livestock production chains, health risks evaluation
- Animal welfare & animal feed
- Beekeeping practices for sustainable agriculture and biodiversity
- Training of veterinary and health professionals
- Consultancy and sanitary information to companies in the food industry
- Microbiological test for milk productions
The Cooperative Agriculture Capodarco
In the past years, the Lazio region has been encouraging land and rural development of multi-functional farms and organic farms. Among 70,000 farms in the region, about 450 are multifunctional farms, and more than 30 of them are organic farms, 23% of agricultural land is cultivated organically. One of the exemplary practices is the organic social farm Agricoltura Capodarco. Its business model integrates organic farming with local food supply, agri-tourism, social inclusion and community events. The operations include:
- Production of organic products, e.g., vegetables, honey, wine and olive oil
- Cooperative sale and distribution of organic products
- Restaurant, catering and organizing events
- Practicing social agriculture, training workers of socially disadvantaged people, providing local schools and social organizations with education and training programmes, and promoting environmentally friendly agriculture through bio-agricultural training courses
Zhengzhou is interested in joint activities with Agricoltura Capodarco on:
- Workshops and training programmes in implementing organic farming, organic agricultural production processing techniques, and environment-friendly agriculture.
- Knowledge exchange on management of innovative social and health services for the local community, and its economic impact
- Exchange of young talents learning and volunteering in organic farm.
- Knowledge exchange in carbon footprint reduction, ecological footprint evaluation and related socio-economic impact in farming practice
- Cooperative marketing and distribution of organic agricultural products
- Joint events on promoting urban community farming, organic agriculture, and local food supply chain
GreenSapiens Lab – Sapienza University of Rome
GreenSapiens Lab is a research and development center with fundings from the Sapienza University of Rome, the Italian Ministry of University, EU-funded Projects and private companies. The lab deals with green chemistry, sustainable development and the circular economy, with issues such as the production of “green” nanomaterials from bio-resources or the recovery of value-added products from agro-industrial biowaste, through innovative extraction processes with low environmental impact. The GreenSapiens Lab bridges the gap between laboratory research and commercial manufacturing by providing open-access scale-up processing facilities.
The goal of the Lazio-Zhengzhou cooperation is to promote regional innovation policies and practices, focusing on the resilient agri-food supply and rural-urban integrated development for regional competitiveness and economic revitalisation. The topics are identified based on the principle of mutual interests and concrete win-win collaboration.
IURC China is planning a study visit of Zhengzhou to the Lazio region in May, and the Lazio region to Zhengzhou in September 2023. This will enable both Lazio region and Zhengzhou to deepen their understanding of each other’s socio-economic conditions in the cooperation initiatives and to consolidate cooperation based on the mutual benefits.