Beyond Ecosystem Services: Brokering Agrobiodiversity Management Enterprises in Europe and Internationally (EcoBroker)


Funder

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 842325

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Value

£192,460

Duration

24 months from September 2019

Collaborators

Garden Organic UK, University of Murcia Spain, National Institute for Agricultural Sciences, Cuba

Team

Dr Julia Wright, Dr Humberto Rios Labrada, Dr Keith Jeffrey, Dr Joan Lockyer


Project Objectives

Throughout the world, the management and use of agro-biodiversity plays a crucial role in sustaining the livelihoods of small farmers who are working in harsh, often marginal environments, as well as of commercial organic producers worldwide whose agro-ecological systems also depend on a diverse range of plant species both on- and off-farm. Within Europe, small farmers are the custodians of some of the continent’s greatest agro-biodiversity assets, and they increasingly require - and expect - more reward for their stewardship of these assets, not only from the public sector but also from actors in the agro-biodiversity-based food value chains. This Fellowship aims to explore innovative business models and learning approaches that will increase sustainable agro-biodiversity management and reconnect food chain players and civil society with agro-biodiversity values. It will do this through a transdisciplinary approach using participatory methods, with case studies in the UK, Spain and Cuba. Initiatives which generate economic benefits through the participatory management of agro-biodiversity, are called Agro-biodiversity Management Enterprises (AMEs). AMEs focus on adapting, experimenting with and releasing - on a commercial scale – plant varieties with local adaptation, as well as produce and products from these varieties. Their main market focus is the local economy, and the seeds and varieties come not only from the commercial seed sector and research organisations, but also from informal sources. Hence the challenge is of how to add value to, and hence support the maintenance of, these local varieties.

Impact Statement

  1. The development of AMEs will provide evidence for advancing seed and rural business policy in the UK, Spain and Cuba, and this will be driven forward by the Fellow after the research project has ended.
  2. Coventry University , the University of Murcia and INCA will apply action learning curriculum as an alternative to improve their impact on local communities.
  3. The Fellow and Coventry University will have the potential to organise a joint venture for brokering AMEs and researching the scaling up of Agroecology in geographical areas of demand.
  4. The conversion of research findings into art will enable the Fellow to provide an international reference for scientists and artists interested in collaborative work. The Fellow will advise donor organisations who are interested in promoting science and art fusion worldwide.
  5. The development of collaboration between Coventry University and R&D organisations in Europe, the United States, Asia and Latin America to maximise networking for designing, implementing and evaluating action-learning research projects to induce changes in the seed sector in these geographical areas.
  6. Through the co-development of funding proposals and publication of papers, the Fellow will introduce new concepts and practical knowledge for promoting AMEs to entrepreneurs, research and development and donor organisations in Europe, the USA, Asia and Latin America.

For more information on this project, please contact Julia Wright