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Mushroom picking is a growing activity in European forests, and a long lasting tradition for several Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and the Balkans area. They grow in almost all types of forest ecosystems across Europe and are mainly collected from the wild (with exception of cultivated truffles in Spain, France and Italy).

The benefits related to wild mushroom picking can be broad and when maximised can involve a variety of actors playing at the recreational level (e.g. occasional pickers), the commercial level (e.g. mushroom traders), as well as activities proper of the tertiary sector (e.g. mycotourism and leisure activities, education initiatives). However, often private or public landowners do not benefit from the revenues generated by these activities that can also cause friction between mushrooms harvesters and forest owners. In some cases, high harvesting pressures or conflicts between commercial and non-professional pickers can emerge. Most of the mushrooms species show a great ecological plasticity in regards to plant symbionts and environment, as long as there is enough humidity, and their production can greatly vary from year to year. This jeopardises stable value chains. Production levels can potentially be affected by harvesting intensities or harvesting technics. Truffles are considered the most profitable Mediterranean NWFP with a high potential for development. Truffle species (Tuber magnatum and T. melanosporum) are highly demanding in respect to ecological conditions and have been domesticated only in some regions.

As all edible forest products, there are significant challenges in relation to traceability for safety regulations and market transparency. Innovative value chain integration models are often valuable tools to share benefit across all involved stakeholders. In addition, the development of diversified harvesting models aimed to co-production can improve resilience of the mushroom and truffles value chain.

During the celebration of the Scoping Seminars, some work sessions were held to identify the priority themes to focus Wild Mushrooms & Truffles iNet actions:

Value chain activity: Production/harvesting.

Main challenges (Typology of challenge)

WILD MUSHROOM SESSION

  • Regulation of Wild Mushroom picking (Legal and social challenge)
  • Appropriate taxation for mushroom picking activity (social and legal challenge)
  • Control of illegal harvesting/informal markets (social and legal challenge)
  • Domestication of Wild Mushroom species (research and communication challenge)
  • Increase of mushroom yields through mycosilviculture (research and communication challenge)

TRUFFLE SESSION

  • Common procedures for the certification of black truffle inoculated seedlings (Legal challenge)
  • Foster cultivation of other truffle species, not black truffle (research and communication challenge)
  • Increase the research efforts in truffle plantations management (research and communication challenge)

Value chain activity: Transformation.

Main challenges (Typology of challenge)

WILD MUSHROOM SESSION

  • Product traceability, chain of custody (marketing challenge)
  • Quality standards (marketing challenge)
  • Labels and certification (marketing challenge)

TRUFFLE SESSION

  • Quality standards (marketing challenge)
  • Product traceability, chain of custody (marketing challenge)
  • Research on manufactured products. How to increase the life of the fresh truffles? (research challenge)

Value chain activity: Commercialization

Main challenges (Typology of challenge)

WILD MUSHROOM SESSION

  • Product profiling/commercial distinction (marketing challenge)
  • Traceability, labels, regional & cooperative brands, certification (marketing challenge)
  • Effective proscription of informal markets and non-standard products (social and legal challenge)
  • Mycotourism (research, marketing  and communication challenge)

TRUFFLE SESSION

  • Product profiling/commercial distinction (marketing challenge)
  • Traceability, labels, regional and cooperative brands, certification (marketing challenge)
  • Truffle tourism (research, marketing and communication challenge)

Value chain activity: Integration

Main challenges (Typology of challenge)

WILD MUSHROOM SESSION

  • Integration of mushroom value chain actors - interprofessional integration (social and political challenge)
  • Education, training and awareness (social and communication challenge)

TRUFFLE SESSION

  • Integration of truffle value chain actors --interprofessional integration (social and political challenge)
  • Education, training and awareness programs for all levels of actors (social and communication challenge)

 

 

About

The INCREDIBLE project aims to show how Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP) can play an important role in supporting sustainable forest management and rural development, by creating networks to share and exchange knowledge and expertise. ‘Innovation Networks of Cork, Resins and Edibles in the Mediterranean basin’ (INCREDIBLE) promotes cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation to highlight the value and potential of NWFPs in the region.

Funding

Innovation Networks of Cork, Resins and Edibles in the Mediterranean basin’ (INCREDIBLE) project receives funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement Nº 774632

Contact

Email: info@incredibleforest.net or use the contact form.
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