AgriLink Retro-innovation: Diversification of dairy products. - AgriLink

Retro-innovation: Diversification of dairy products.

Spain, Navarra and the Basque Country
Region

Navarra is a region located in the north of Spain with a border with France. It is a small region in which there are different agricultural productions, in the northern area the cattle and sheep milk and meat livestock stands out and agriculture predominates in the middle and southern areas.

Region map.

In this northern area, the two designations of origin of cheese in the region are placed. In the southernmost area, a very important horticulture linked to the agri-food industry predominates. It can be said that it is a small region with great agricultural wealth.

In the Basque country there are organisations called Management Centres that offer different kind of support to farmers (technical, economical, related to taxes, CAP, etc.). They support farmers throughout the different phases of the TCM and also research centres have an important role in the implementation of the innovation. In recent years they are taking part in projects to try to encourage the implementation of the innovation in the area.

Study focus

During last decades the diversity of dairy products has been lost in Navarra and the Basque Country. Most of the farmers have been focused on the production of DO Idiazabal cheese or they have sold the milk, forgetting about old recipes and existing knowledge, while clients have bought other types of cheese from other places.

Crisis and unfavourable conditions, increasing demand for other products and search for higher added value are some of the reasons that have led farmers to innovate and reintroduce new dairy products. Examples: https://izoriabaserria.blogspot.com/ , www.jauregia.net/.

In general, the decision to innovate is a long process that requires an intense evaluation (inversion, changing facilities, new recipes, etc.). Two different phases are identified in the decision-making process. In the first phase, those who support farmers are not necessarily linked to the innovation, and trusted advisors who help them regularly (traditional advisory service) support them in finding solutions to new problems or analysing the feasibility of different options. Associations and Rural Development Agencies are also relevant in this phase. In the second phase, apart from this advice, farmers need specific support regarding the new product and food research and innovation centres are the most important actors. This innovation is linked to family and territory, and, in many cases, it goes hand in hand with the adoption of direct marketing by the farm. The adoption of the innovation entails farmers being able to be more independent, they don’t have to abandon rural areas and it can be a new business opportunity for them. However, it also implies a greater workload and investment and having to face complex technical and administrative barriers.

Full report is available here.

Partner and responsible person contact

INTIA

Noelia Telletxea, ntelletxea@intiasa.es

INTIA, SA, the regional public advisory service, has a long experience in agricultural advice, counting on teams of technical advisers who have been key in transmitting this knowledge to farmers in Navarra.

Lessons learned
1 The triggers for considering this innovation are the need to seek new opportunities.
In general, the triggers for considering this innovation are the need to seek new opportunities and solutions to the problems that arise on the farm, the demand for new products by regular customers, the generational change that makes the person who is going to take charge of the exploitation, raise new strategies, etc.
2 Innovation is linked to the family and the territory.
It is an innovation linked to the family and the territory and in many cases it is linked to the adoption of direct sales as a form of marketing. Diversification provides greater independence, allows you to reside in rural areas and is a business opportunity. However, it implies a greater workload, greater investments and facing complex technical and administrative barriers. As in the previous case, hygienic-sanitary regulations are also a very important obstacle.
3 The decision to innovate is a long process.
The decision to innovate is a long process that requires intense evaluation (investment, modification of facilities, new recipes, etc.). In relation to counseling, there are two phases in decision making. In the first phase, those who support livestock farmers are not necessarily linked to innovation and fundamentally, they are the trusted advisers who help them in the search for solutions to problems or in the analysis of the viability of different options. Associations and Rural Development Agencies are also relevant. In a second phase, in addition to the advice of the trusted person, they require the support of specific advisers.

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