In view of the upcoming programming of European agricultural policies (2021-2027), the Council of the Province of Trento asks how tomorrow's agriculture will be and how do you want it to be, what scenarios you want and what policies to achieve them?
Problems and purpose
Promoted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism and Promotion, Hunting and Fishing of the Autonomous Province of Trento with the aim of developing guidelines, strategies and concrete actions to guide the agricultural policies of Trentino in the coming years (Link 1 - Path). & nbsp;
The project was prompted by approaching the "expiry of the current programming period 2014-2020 of the Community agricultural policy and the beginning of the next period 2021-2028 "(PAT, 2018, p. 3). This required "to evaluate whether the policy adopted by the Province in recent years, with respect to the agricultural sector in Trentino, is still current or requires appropriate adaptations in view of the future challenges that an increasingly globalized market imposes" (Ib.). The salient features of previous policies and references to documents are not reported. For the consultation it was decided to & nbsp; adopt participatory methods, facilitators for face-to-face meetings and a dedicated website. & Nbsp;
Background history and context
Political tradition & nbsp ;
With a strong Christian-Catholic roots, the territory of Trento, Trentino, has always been governed by the Christian Democrats from the post-war period until 1994. Since then, after the Tangentopoli scandal and the dissolution of the DC, coalitions have to be formed, which will always see the center-left prevail, led by candidate presidents from center lists / parties such as the Margherita, & nbsp; from the Democratic Party or the PATT (the Trentino Tyrolean Autonomous Party born in 1988). The last legislature, up to 2018, was precisely one of these, with Ugo Rossi as president, secretary of the PATT. The Agriculture Domani project falls into that legislature, promoted by Michele Dallapiccola, councilor for agriculture and former President of the PATT Group. & Nbsp;
Rossi's program was of a strong type, with numerous points and objectives concrete. Participation was recurrent in the text but it was participation that produced the program, participation in the primary, participation of young people in "policies for young people [...] built together with them" (PAT, 2103, p. 8) . Participatory democracy is never explicitly mentioned. & Nbsp;
In the last elections of 21/10/2018, for the first time, the center-right led by a candidate from the Lega Salvini-premier took the lead , former parliamentarian, Maurizio Fugatti.
Agriculture in Trentino
In a territory of 541,000 inhabitants, mainly mountainous, agriculture is an important sector, with companies connected by cooperatives and a production that focuses on quality, in particular of apples and grapes for sparkling wines, also enhanced by local origin and quality brands. Dairy cattle breeding and dairy production are also of high quality; the production of small fruits and vegetables is also important, in particular carrot, potato and onion. & nbsp;
Organizational, support and financing entities
Autonomous Province of Trento - Department of Agriculture, Forests, Tourism and Promotion, Hunting and Fishing . The following structures were involved in the project: Department of Territory, Agriculture, Environment and Forests, Agriculture Service, Rural Development Policy Service and APPAG of the Autonomous Province of Trento, UMST Evaluation of regulatory activities, Transparency and Participation, Trentino IT. No expenditure commitments are mentioned. On the dedicated site and in the final document there are no references to Council resolutions or other institutional documents. & Nbsp;
Support group made up of 22 officials (one of whom is a referent) employees of the aforementioned structures of the institution. This group also includes the facilitators of 3 work tables. It is not known whether these facilitators had training for the role.
Speakers - In each of the 3 tables there was an expert speaker on the subject with the task of guiding the discussion and proposing contents of interest: prof. Michele Pontalti, Edmund Mach Foundation; prof. Umberto Martini, Department of Economics and Management of the University of Trento; dr. Luca Cesaro, Crea (Council for research in agriculture and the analysis of the agricultural economy). Any salaries assigned for these figures are not indicated. & Nbsp;
Recruitment and selection of participants
Preparatory meeting to start the path - "The comparison path was proposed on 9 August 2017, in a meeting attended by the representatives of bodies, organizations and associations active in the world of agriculture in Trentino and the Department of Agriculture, Forests, Tourism and Promotion, Hunting and Fishing. The following structures were involved in the project: Department of Territory, Agriculture, Environment and Forests, Agriculture Service, Rural Development Policy Service and APPAG of the Autonomous Province of Trento, UMST Evaluation of regulatory activities, Transparency and Participation, Trentino IT. 25 organizations that gravitate to the world of agriculture have joined the project "(PAT, 2018, p. 4). It is not indicated what type of invitation or public communication was produced, the news is not even detectable in the news of the provincial press office other than those relating to the final meeting of 21/8/2018. A list of participating organizations is shown but not the number of individuals for each organization. It should be noted that there are no other entities that are not strictly focused on agriculture, e.g. associations for the protection and / or promotion of the landscape and tourism, outdoor sports, environmentalism, agricultural employees, not even the orders of agricultural technicians.
Thematic tables - After having invited the members to send 3 topics on which to start the discussion, 38 proposals were collected by 13 organizations and then merged into 3 macro thematic areas. Work tables were organized for each area (in 5 meetings, held in January, February, March 2018) with the presence of an expert speaker, a facilitator, officials and technicians from the Agriculture Service and the Rural Development Policy Service, the support group for the drafting of the synthesis of what emerged (Ib., p.4). Each of the 25 associations and organizations / companies that joined the course was able to participate with two representatives, at different tables. Each association was therefore able to register for two out of three tables (Ib., P. 21). & Nbsp;
Collective meetings - In addition to the meetings in the tables, 3 meetings were held in plenary, one at the start of the itinerary (12/12/2017, Sala Rosa - Palazzo della Regione, Trento) and 2 at the end (19/4/2018 and 22/5/18, Sala Casteller, Località San Rocco, Trento) ), to review and share the proposals that emerged from the working tables (Ib., p. 5). The number of participants and reports are not indicated. Finally, on 21/8/18 (Sala Belli, Province of Trento) the final document was presented. Among the speakers were: the councilor Dallapiccola, the manager of the Agriculture Service F. Dagostin, the 3 expert referents for each table. The audience included the main stakeholders involved in the path, as well as the general manager of the Territory, Agriculture, Environment and Forests Department Romano Masé, the president of the Mach Foundation Andrea Segrè, the UMST manager Andrea Segatta ". p>
Dedicated website . To facilitate communication and information between the participants, an e-mail address dedicated to the course has been set up, used already at the start-up phase. In order to ensure maximum transparency and the possibility of interaction between the participants, Informatica Trentina (part of the support group) has made available a website accessible only to project participants and the support group (Link 1). The site has been structured by thematic areas, with a section dedicated to the consultation process, to facilitate the exchange of materials, including technical and scientific documents, and to share documents and intermediate documents, allowing participants to stay updated on the calendar of meetings. . Throughout the process it was possible to view and download the summaries of the individual meetings of the tables and plenaries. In this way, each participant had the opportunity to follow the progress of the work in the individual thematic groups and make their own contribution in an informed way. Access to the site was also possible from the "Trentino Agriculture" portal (Ib., P. 25). & Nbsp;
Methods and tools used
Plenary meetings < / strong>. They anticipate or follow restricted meetings, working tables or focus groups, round tables. These are pseudo-assembly meetings in which one or more speakers, regulated by a moderator, speak for a limited time, for the purpose of an introduction or a summary. The arrangement of the participants - usually - follows the classic theatrical scheme, with limelight and audience. & Nbsp;
Working tables , thematic & nbsp; (similar to focus groups) are meetings with an arrangement of the participants in a circle, around a table, where everyone usually has the same possibility / faculty to intervene, hold a speech / short speech. Generally the group has a goal / task on which to generate ideas and agree. In this case they were focused on a single theme with the task of producing shared and viable actions. & Nbsp;
What happened: process, interaction and participation
1. Preparatory phase
"The participatory process was proposed on 9 August 2017 in a meeting attended by representatives of & nbsp; organizations active in the world of agriculture in Trentino, of the sectors that have expertise in the matter and the Department of Agriculture, Forests, Tourism and Promotion, Hunting and Fishing. On 19 October the same representatives met and accepted the proposal to identify 3 topics of interest on which to start the participatory process. By 3 November & nbsp; 38 proposals were collected by 13 organizations, then rearranged and included within & nbsp; 3 thematic areas & nbsp; placed at the basis of discussion in the working groups "(PAT, 2018, p. 4). An expert speaker was assigned to each table with the task of guiding the discussion, however facilitated by an official from the support group of the Province. The three macro themes with their respective tables were (Ib.):
- Table 1. "Knowledge and innovation" - Dr. Michele Pontalti, Edmund Mach Foundation;
- Table 2. "Increase competitiveness" - Prof. Umberto Martini, University of Trento;
- Table 3. "Towards environmental and social sustainability" - Dr. Luca Cesaro, CREA (Council for research in agriculture and the analysis of the agrarian economy). & nbsp;
2. Launch of thematic working groups
Before the start, a plenary meeting was organized (December 2017) to share the methods of carrying out the path. This was followed by 5 meetings per table (from January to March 2018). “In the first four meetings, each table worked, led by the expert speaker and the facilitator, on different topics and themes. The fifth meeting was dedicated to the review of the contents that emerged and summarized in the previous meetings "(PAT 2018, p. & Nbsp; 5). “Two plenary meetings were held between April and May 2018, during which the results of the tables were presented to all participants. Here everyone had the opportunity to express their opinion on the results, suggest changes or specify some points. In this way, the proposals included in the final document were evaluated and shared by the participants in the path ”(Ib.). To support this path, the website has always been active, with access reserved for registered participants, for updates and exchange of documents and points of view (Ib., P. 25). & Nbsp;
"From comparison between the participants in the thematic tables and in the plenary meetings, seven macro topics emerged transversally "(Ib., p. 5): & nbsp;
- competitiveness & nbsp;
- training & nbsp;
- innovation and research & nbsp;
- management of public policies & nbsp;
- enhancing and promoting the territory & nbsp;
- environmental, economic and social & nbsp;
- profitability & nbsp;
"Each macro topic was addressed on the basis of current knowledge and, for each, the proposals that emerged and the tools useful for implement them "(Ib.).
The final document contains a summary of the contents that emerged for each macro-topic. For example, on the first theme, thanks to the introduction of the expert, the discussion was articulated on how to analyze the market and which challenges of competitors affect the strengths and weaknesses. To position yourself on stable commercial outlets at profitable prices, it is important to consider three variables: the size of the offer and of the companies, the geographic size of the market and the prevailing market segment (or a mix of segments). The element of interest that influences consumer choices is the origin of the product (COO-Country of Origin) and the ethics and sustainability of production. This theme is linked to territorial brands such as that of "Trentino Quality" which has been present since 2015, to territorial marketing and knowledge of the territory. The proposals that emerged are: to promote mountain agriculture as a distinctive character; promote greater interconnection between sectors; leverage on "made in Trentino" and on the value of green production; & nbsp; enhance the multifunctionality of companies (agritourism, social agriculture, livestock and tourism). The tools designed to achieve these objectives are: a joint agriculture-tourism work table with operators and actors from both sectors; improvement of the bureaucratic process for organic certifications and the "Trentino Quality" brand which is too onerous for small companies; activate an agricultural market observatory (involving the Mach Foundation, the Kessler Foundation, the University of Trento and the Chamber of Commerce); maintaining aid to mountain farms and multifunctionality; raise awareness of EU measure 19 "Leader", a strategy across all themes, aimed at strengthening agriculture by linking it to environment and sustainable tourism, through the development of rural areas (PAT, 2018, p. 9). Other proposals, by way of example, that can bring out conflicting nodes are: the enhancement of the malghe, the structures of the summer pastures. Out of 700, only 100 make cheese-making in malga, and they are decreasing due to health standards that are too rigid and complex to respect. This then has an effect on the tourist enhancement of the malga which is unable to sell its products. Structural adaptation of the huts where possible or packaging in dairies with consequent transport of the same to the hut and of milk to the dairies is proposed (Ib., P. 16). Another theme concerns coexistence with large predators (bear, wolf); they ask for "incentives for the inclusion of dogs for the defense of the herds [...]; forms of compensation must be provided for the inconvenience that companies have to endure in organizing defense from predators. And it is necessary to foresee the possibility of containment of large predators and / or selection of individuals approaching inhabited areas ”(Ib., P. 18). Apart from the obvious rational use of scarce water, and some calls to maintain biodiversity and organic farming, the issues of apple and grape monocultures and their impact on the environment and landscape have never been raised. ; All contents are also reported in summary and schematic sheets. & Nbsp;
3. Final meeting to present the results
On 21/8/18 the final document with the results of the course was presented. In the concluding speech, the commissioner summarized a process of substantial continuity with what was already in place in previous policies: "I believe that Trentino lacked the pride of being peasants: in the 1950s and 1960s the role of the farmer and its position in society were held in little consideration when most of the population carried out this profession. Then the evolution of the Trentino society, which has relied on other forms of enterprises, has perhaps forgotten the centrality of this type of enterprise , but little by little we are recovering this condition with other tools. I am thinking of the important connection, mentioned several times in the study, of agriculture with tourism and with quality products. To our guests, constantly growing in recent years, we can offer our agriculture, or enhance the territory not only for the purposes of accommodation but also under that of products, precisely promoting the agricultural sector ltura and not just the tourism sector. Another aspect that we tried to pursue - were the conclusions of the councilor for agriculture and tourism - was to make the people of Trentino feel proud to buy Trentino, identifying the 'Trentino Quality' brand as a suitable tool for this process "[ 1].
Influence, results and effects
It is not possible to detect any effects on agricultural policies at the moment (ril. 21/10/19); precise related procedures are not indicated o updating references to the acts concerning the community policy The path will probably have an impact on the updating of the RDP (Rural Development Program) 2014 - 2020 but there are no monitoring and communication measures on how the results will be transferred on time. & nbsp;
The historic turning point that saw a change in the political orientation of the Giunta, towards the League and the center-right in the last elections of October 2018 could, at least from an institutional point of view, make up rtire the path made. In fact, the new councilor Giulia Zanotelli (Lega Salvini premier), flanked by the technical structures and the Mach Foundation, has started a series of talks called "Green Table of Agriculture [...] with all the representatives of the Trentino agricultural world" to the update of the RDP 2021 - 2027 . There are no references to the "Agriculture Tomorrow" course and the themes-intentions raised, although similar, do not seem to reflect the results of the course undertaken. & Nbsp;
Analysis and lessons learned
Inclusiveness : the absence of efforts to cross interests is denoted (eg there were no environmental associations, outdoor sports, landscape protection, tourism promotion associations).
Representativeness : also for the agricultural sector many actors were not involved (eg agricultural workers unions, professional associations such as agrotechnics, training institutions). Space and voice was given only to already consolidated entrepreneurial subjects. There was no confirmation, no ongoing verification, of citizenship in general, not even implicit, with dedicated public meetings before reaching conclusions.
Transparency : it is not given know how the initial invitations took place, public communications and advertising were not detected; the site, in progress, was only accessible to registered participants; there was no provision for any monitoring measure of influence / impact of the outcomes; the minutes of the meetings are not given. In the formulation-synthesis of the contents, the intervention of the technical-facilitators of the provincial body was preponderant, no hierarchical tools or preferential votes on the options were used. The final proposals remain on the generic and, above all, thanks to the non-inclusive approach, they did not bring out conflicts, therefore creative responses and regenerative possibilities, but already known and repetitive narratives.
 “Agriculture Tomorrow”: the final report of the consultation process presented, Il Trentino, Press release 2001, 21/8/18, < a href = "https://www.ufficiostampa.provincia.tn.it/Comunicati/Agricoltura-Domani-presentato-il-report-conclusivo-del-percorso-di-consultazione" target = "_blank"> https: // www.ufficiostampa.provincia.tn.it/Comunicati/Agricoltura-Domani-presentato-il-report-conclusivo-del-percorso-di-consultazione (ril. 21/10/19).< p>  Meeting with councilor Zanotelli on strategies for the near future. Green Table of Agriculture: the new agricultural programming 2021-2027, Il Trentino, Comunicato 2586, 14/10/2019, https://www.ufficiostampa.provincia.tn.it/Comunicati/Tavolo-Verde-dell-Agricoltura-la-nuova - agricultural-programming-2021-2027 (ril. 21/10/19).
Agriculture tomorrow - https://agricolturadomani.provincia.tn.it/ (ril. 19/10/19)
PAT (2013 ), Autonomous Province of Trento, Program of Ugo Rossi, & nbsp; President of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Autonomous Center-Left Coalition, http://www.giunta.provincia.tn.it/binary/pat_giunta_09/XV_legislatura/Programma_Preside nte_PAT_Ugo_Rossi.1385449989.pdf (rel. 19/10/19).
PAT (2018), Agriculture tomorrow, Final report, August, https://www.ufficiostampa.provincia.tn.it/content/download/139081/2604362/file/agricolturadomani_documento_conclusivo_rev.pdf (ril. 19/10/19). & Nbsp;