Bringing farmers together to develop new products
A new Objective One project has been announced which aims to reduce the isolation of farmers, bringing them together to meet the challenges facing their industry at a particularly difficult time by helping develop new business opportunities.
Members of the South West Agricultural and Rural Development Project (SWARD) have been awarded more than £300,000 of Objective One funds.
SWARD is building on its achievements of the last two years in giving the widely dispersed agricultural and food production industry a way of keeping in touch. Many of its members started exchanging information and ideas when they were with the Young Farmers. On leaving, they found themselves isolated and in need of a new sense of community.
SWARD’s 300 members have met this need by working collaboratively in a range of focus groups. Each group, consisting of between 4 to 12 members, arrange telephone conferences, visits and IT training, with individuals receiving £250 each to pay for this activity.
The input of £304,332 of Objective One cash has been earmarked to help put farmers across Cornwall in touch with companies that process meat and other value added products; creating a chain of expertise that will lead, for example, to locally produced organic pork, sausages and even Cornish salami.
SWARD project manager Amanda Ratsey says the agricultural industry needs to be bonded together to make these advances.
“A large proportion of Cornwall’s farmers spend their day to day lives without much contact with the rest of the industry. This is not the best way to develop a healthy input of ideas and therefore an expanding range of produce. SWARD is here to make sure those farmers can exchange information, benefit from expert visits, and organising workshops; making innovation and new products a possibility.”
“Organic produce is just one of the ways that SWARD’s focus groups are capitalising on the opportunities opened up by Objective One. Without the input of three hundred thousand pounds, the knowledge of how to produce, process and supply these foods would be harder to come by.”
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD