The Institute of Bio-Economy and Agro-Technology of the National Center for Research and Technological Development (IKO / CERTH), participated, in cooperation with Regional Development Agency of West Macedonia (ANKO S.A.), in technical visits to selected agri-food enterprises of the Region of Western Macedonia. The visits took place from Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th October, with the participation of research staff from CERTH and ANKO S.A. (member of the Enterprise Europe Network). The coordination of the visits and the preparation of the meetings, in consultation with the representatives of the companies, was done by the ANKO executives, while the selection of the enterprises was done in cooperation with CERTH.
The technical visits were carried out within the framework of the European project of interregional cooperation BRIDGES, the INTERREG EUROPE program, in which ANKO and CERTH participate, aiming at the interconnection of research and innovation with the specialized enterprises in the Region of Western Macedonia, in the agri-food sector. Within the framework of the project, CERTH is working closely with ANKO to map the agri-food sector in the region of Western Macedonia and to develop an Action Plan according to the standards set by the project which will lead the enterprises and the region in general to achieving development goals and optimizing the use of funding through the implementation of the Intelligent Specialization Strategy (RIS3).
The companies that hosted the CERTH-ANKO team, as they came out after a rigorous evaluation by the two organizations, are:
- “AROSIS”, Processing and standardization of pulses, Kastoria
- “KOURELLAS S.A.” Cheese-Dairy Products, Grevena
- “Herbs & Oils”, Aromatic plants-Essential Oils, Xirolimni Kozani
- “NAOUMIDIS ALL PEPPER”, Processing of Pepper Florina, Florina
- “ALPHA ESTATE”, Winery, Amyndeon
- “DIOSCURIDES”, Medicinal plants and products, Anarrachi-D. Eordaias
- “ASEPOP Velventou”, Fruit Standardization, Velvento
- “Velventos-Dimitra”, Fruit Standardization, Velvento
- “Vineyard Kamkouti”, Winery, Velvento
- “Lefkara Farm”, Cheese-dairy products, Lefkara
- «The Kozani Saffron Producers Cooperative», Saffron Products, Krokos, Kozani
The visits highlighted the high potential for innovation and development of new competitive products of these businesses, the need for close, long-term cooperation between research bodies and businesses, as well as a number of challenges that need to be addressed, such as:
- The failure of many companies to set up a research and development department that would help them to better exploit the results of collaborative research, collaborations with other companies (mainly abroad) towards the development of new innovative products.
- The difficulties of similar or complementary companies to cooperate in developing products with high added value for existing and new markets due to the lack of a culture of cooperation and the lack of trust between them.
- The absence of specialized staff capable of adapting to the requirements of the agri-food industry, and contributing to business efforts for extroversion and innovation.
- The difficulty of protecting innovative businesses from distortions of competition, such as non-certification / substantiation of health claims of many products and the lack of traceability of their ingredients.
- The absence of monitoring and benchmarking of the technologies applied at different stages of the production process will provide a competitive advantage for businesses. These technologies include smart farming / livestock farming.
- Discontinuity in cooperation between companies and business support bodies, has the effect of losing opportunities to to strengthen the competitiveness of businesses as well as entire sectors of the agri-food sector.
Στην τεχνική επίσκεψη, το ΙΒΟ/ΕΚΕΤΑ εκπροσώπησαν ο κος Ευάγγελος Κατσαρός και η κα Σταυρούλα Διβανέ, Συνεργάτες ΙΒΟ/ΕΚΕΤΑ (επικοινωνία: 2421096744, firstname.lastname@example.org)