On 15-16 April, the INCREDIBLE project held its Final Conference: Building partnerships for innovation in Mediterranean non-wood forest products (NWFPs) value-chains, to explore and celebrate during 3 sessions the outcomes of the project with a special emphasis on the flagship initiatives and important achievements of each Interregional Innovation Networks (iNets). The session was broadcast open and live on the project website and more than 200 attendees joint the session.
During the session 1 the discussion turned around the future NWFP observatory for Mediterranean countries, with participation of forest observatory managers from Spain, Tunisia, Portugal and Serbia. The INCREDIBLE partners, explained in detail the policy recommendations for Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP) came from the consortium and stakeholders, which are reflected in two documents: the white paper on policy priorities for non-wood forest products in Europe and the “Manifesto of Alghero: A commitment to promote the contribution of non-wood forest products to inclusive and green growth and eco-social progress in Europe and worldwide”.
In session 2, EFI awarded a prize and two runners-up prizes to the finalists of the INCREDIBLE Knowledge contest, a kind of short study visit to allow them to visit the INCREDIBLE consortium partner of their interest to deepen and exchange knowledge in relation to the innovation or good practice presented in the contest.
The winner was “Cooperatively design and manufacture tools for small-scale agricultural production” and the 2nd and 3rd prizes went to “A new technology of extracting the fixed (non-volatile) oil of Pistacia lentiscus for the benefit of rural women” and "New drilling method for resin extraction in Segovia (Spain)", respectively. The winners will enjoy a paid visit to one of the INCREDIBLE partners of their choice. The first winner has chosen to visit INIA headquarters in Madrid (Spain) due to its positions between theory and practice, and its connection with policies and bottom-up decision making. The second winner has chosen to visit CFRI (Croatia) to develop skills in forestry field and see new experiences in forest management and new AMP products. And the third one chosen FoRestas (Sardinia, Italiy) to learn more about the biodiversity in the island and study potential of the resources.
After the ceremony, participants had the opportunity to learn about the progress, one year later, of two of the businesses supported by the INCREDIBLE acceleration service in February 2020.
Finally, in session 3, Inge van Oost, Policy Office at DG Agriculture and Rural Development (European Commission) who presented the future of thematic networks in agriculture and forestry. A round debate on lessons learnt from thematic networks followed, with the coordinators of other projects such as AFINET, Euraknos, INCREDIBLE and the Non-Wood Forest Products IUFRO Task Force.
This event allowed to show the importance of the NWFPs and the need to leverage their potential, through the work that INCREDIBLE partners have been doing since November 2017. A long path that is reflected in all the open access documentation available on the of website. But INCREDIBLE does not end here and more NWFPs actions will follow. Stay tuned!