A seminar was held by farmers from Harghita County at the European Parliament on 26th of April 2022 as part of the “CAPfuture - Information Measures for Healthy and Quality Food” project. The aim of the event was to review the results of the project and to formulate proposals related to the Common Agricultural Policy based on the experience and goals of the farmers of Harghita County.
The event was hosted by MEPs Gyula WINKLER and Lóránt VINCZE, with the participation of MEP Balázs HIDVÉGHI and MEP Daniel BUDA, as well as by Mr. Csaba Borboly, President of the Harghita County Council and a member of the European Committee of the Regions.
The results of the project, the good practices of Harghita County and their connection with the purpose, measures, regulation and support system of the Common Agricultural Policy were presented at the event in four panels. Among the projects, the Szekler Product Trademark, the Harghita Cheese, the Szépízi dairy processing plant, the Szépvíz pig farm, the RIBON product family, the public property of Zetelaka and the Csíkszépvíz were presented.
The natural resources and values of Harghita County makes possible to produce high-quality eco and organic products in large quantities and to supply the local population. Agricultural production in Harghita County has two basic purposes based on its natural resources:
- supply to the local population,
- and production of high quality products to improve the income of local producers and small farmers
In Harghita County, the operation of the short supply chain, self-sufficiency and direct contact between producers and consumers are widespread. The biggest challenge for farmers and food processors in meeting the targets is to sell high-quality products at fair prices. Experience has shown that products sold through product lines outside the short supply chain have the lowest profits. The “Farm to Fork Strategy” food product-based regulation and support framework adopted by the European Union provides a new development opportunity for Harghita County producers and local food processing companies in this regard.
The COVID-19 epidemic, as well as the risks of the current war, is a priority to ensure a continuous and low-risk food supply for the local population.
The package compiled under the “CAPfuture” project has been prepared in order to achieve the objectives mentioned above, taking into account the measures of the European Green Agreement and the Common Agricultural Policy and based on the resources of Harghita County.
1. Production of a quality product, based on local natural resources, preferably with eco or bio certification
a. Development of a production quality assurance system, combined with the Szekler Product trademark
b. Maintaining the biopotential and biodiversity of land and forests in Harghita County
c. Value-based reconciliation of the needs and expectations of rural life, agricultural production and biodiversity. The security of rural housing and agricultural production must be ensured while maintaining the values of biodiversity.
2. Supporting the dissemination and use of quality technological innovation (precision and data-based agricultural production) to ensure production efficiency
a. Training of farmers by creating and operating a good example manufacture unit network
b. Providing the environment and expertise needed to operate innovative technologies
c. Maximize the support available to farmers in Harghita County from the Common Agricultural Policy support system, while maintaining the above mentioned objectives and biodiversity values
d. Operation of the network of farmers in order to provide expertise, training and to cooperate with farmers from neighboring counties
3. To increase the share of producers from the income of the sale of special, high-quality products in the product lines in order to achieve economically sustainable development.
- Ensuring a distinction between local products and special and high-quality products in product lines and consumer markets.
- Strengthening the Szekler Product trademark system. Establishment and operation of a quality assurance and monitoring system to verify the quality of branded products and to build and maintain consumer confidence.
- Improving the processing capacity of local products in the region.
- Development of the production of local product brands (for example: Harghita Cheese) for the production of a uniform and controlled quality and for voluminous stocks.
- Establishment of a logistics “utility” to organize the local short supply chain and out-of-area sales.
- To get to know the trends of the consumer markets, to identify the needs and expectations of the target groups that need high-quality Harghita County products
- Joint product development based on knowledge of consumer markets, joint organization of sales and marketing
- Development of agricultural innovation in Harghita County based on regional needs and resources in order to ensure the optimal use of human and environmental resources and to reduce the risk of production
- Reconciling rural life, traditions that strengthen the identity of communities with innovative technologies.