TOWARDS is a 24-month SSA project, whose main objective is to support, promote and rigorously research the migration of agri-food SMEs networks/associations from a producer & regional focus (traditional net./assoc) towards a market & European orientation (innovative net./assoc): from fork to farm approach. TOWARDS aims to help implement the ERA by strengthening main Food Quality and Safety Priority's ''from fork to farm" approach, directly relevant to agri-food SMEs net/assoc, in regions of Europe stimulating interregional co-operation with particular attention given to innovation aspects. Market & client oriented agri-food net/assoc. pull SMEs to more rapidly assimilate innovation, what encourages growth and strengthens the competitiveness of the food sec tor in European and global markets.
The goal of the project justifies its European nature, since best practices and experience is best gathered from similar networks in other countries. The project enrols 36 agri-food SMEs net./assoc.(18 traditional + 18 innovative), top-level experts including representatives of agri-food demand, regional & national public agencies, policy makers and professionals servicing agri-food sector. Firstly TOWARDS creates a Migration toolkit to evaluate 18 traditional agri-food net/ assoc. enrolled and strengthens them supporting their migration into becoming more market & client oriented (development of Migration plans & strategies).
Further networks strengthening is facilitated through the exchange of best practices previously identified in 18 innovative net/assoc. enrolled. Secondly, TOWARDS creates an Agri- food Web Platform, sustainable beyond the project (Business plan) that involves and bring together around shared goals a range of agri-food players, carrying knowledge content and business information for agri-food networks and supporting their re-focusing towards clients. The project has an ambitious set of awareness creation & dissemination activities at regional, national & European level
For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/141_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site.