The working year 2016 has gone to an end. It has been a year of both large and small events, both in our local contexts and in the world. We have entered a 2017 when hopefully all RDPs in the EU member states will be in full activity and all the Leader LAGs and many EIP Operational Groups have become what is said in the name, operational.
After experiencing an inspiring, idea giving, experience exchanging, cooperation preparing and contact creating CLLD conference in Båstad, Sweden, very well organised by the ENRD, we will report about the Swedish network activities during the last months, according to our thematic working groups.
During September five more “bush-trips” have been arranged showing politicians and other decision makers the effect on the landscape without grazing animals. In the evaluation after each trip many are highlighting the growing problem of neglected farmland. One of the solutions is to stimulate (educate) local authorities how to purchase more local food while following the public procurement rules.
An innovation project has been initiated aiming at the development of a digital tool at farm level to plan the production options for a single farm, taking in to account its assets but also the regulations in different production lines.
During the national Leader Network Conference a workshop was arranged where the success factors for ”Competitiveness in agriculture and forestry” were presented from a survey of 250 leader projects.
Our special sub working group for young farmers will continue to use the podcast tool to highlight the issues and questions regarding generation renewal.
A thematic group for fishery and aquaculture has been formed with financing as a project under the EMFF. Thus it is not organised exactly as the other thematic working groups, except for the EIP Innovation Support. All the others are financed directly through the NRN budget. The new thematic group has almost just been formed and the tangible activities will start in 2017. The group has members representing the fishery industry organisation, the aquaculture businesses, the County Administrations, the nature conservation association, the Maritime and Water Authority, the fishing tourism sector and the Swedish Board of Agriculture. A FLAG manager is chairman of the group.
A workshop about fishing tourism was arranged during the national Leader conference in September.
A questionnaire has been sent out to the LAGs about how the multi fund coordination works (or not) on the ground. The answers show that the County Administrations and other regional authorities are important actors. Many LAGs have also established good contacts with the Managing Authorities for the regional ERDF and ESF programmes. Nearly all respondents are though highlighting the need for even better coordination.
There have been six regional LAG meetings and in the end of September the national Leader/CLLD network conference was arranged. The theme was sustainable rural tourism.
We have also produced two podcasts with Leader themes. One is about ”Challenges and possibilities in Leader” the other one is more basic about the Leader method. Furthermore, there was a podcast produced during the European CLLD conference in Båstad. It was made in English and will be published both through our website and through the ENRD website.
We have published one more video with an integration example. This is called “The Orust Miracle” which is a catering business run by a group of asylum seeking women. The video is mostly in Arabic but there are subtitle options using the “setting wheel" in the right lower corner of the Youtube screen.
We have finalised a set of activities to support ethnical associations and will now evaluate the results. We have also made a guide targeting the agricultural schools planning to offer education and other activities for newcomers and asylum seekers. The agricultural school in Tenhult is now carrying out its second round of a training course in horticulture. The duration is 40 weeks and many of the participants are newcomers.
We have arranged a workshop to highlight the existing support and subsidies in society for asylum seekers and newcomers who want to start businesses. A follow up meeting will be arranged.
The state secretary of our Minister of Rural Affairs participated in the latest meeting of the thematic working group and stressed the importance of our work to help newcomers to be established and integrated in the rural communities.
During the national Leader conference, a workshop was arranged about the importance of instructing and giving clear guidelines to the LAGs' nomination committees how to include more young people in the LAGs. The same methods can be implemented in other decision making bodies. We have also produced a podcast with the same theme.
We are planning to produce a couple of short story telling videos demonstrating the importance of recruiting young people to the LAG boards and other bodies and showing examples of how to do it.
With the help of students from the Swedish Agricultural University a pre-study has been carried out about the need for formal education in nature based tourism. Within the working group a project application to the Swedish Rural Programme has been prepared with the aim of supporting this kind of tourism with different activities.
During the national Leader conference in September, which had tourism as a theme, we arranged a workshop about nature based tourism. It resulted in several Leader groups getting back to us asking for more information and further contact with the thematic working group. We have also produced an episode of the podcast from the Swedish Rural Network about the possibilities with nature based tourism.
We arranged a workshop about commercial services in rural areas at the national Leader conference. The Leader groups are important target groups for the activities of the working group. Another important target group is the officers in municipalities and regions working with rural development.
At the event called Service Lab, arranged by the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the working group had an exhibition stand. And finally we now also have our own web page.
We are still waiting for approval of the first projects to set up Operational Groups for innovation. Until late autumn the managing authority has received 250 applications in the EIP Agri measure. About 200 of them are for the startup of Operational Groups and 45 of them are for implementation of an innovation project.
Our EIP support team have participated in the EIP-Agri workshop about communication and support and we have participated at the big Swedish agricultural fair at Elmia both in panel discussions, with a “Knowledge and innovation square” together with researchers, advisory service and education and finally we also arranged a “Future workshop” with students using the resource of researchers and advisory service officers available at the fair, to find solutions for several of the challenges facing agriculture.
Some photos from the agricultural fair