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    For Balkan Med region the agro food sector has an important social and economic role–especially in rural communities-and is emerging as a central element for the region’s development. Despite the diversity of production systems and the different degrees of obstacles,Balkan Med territories are facing common challenges that limit the development of the agro food sector and weaken especially the small producers. Most constraints are common in rural Balkan Med areas, such as lack of innovation and productivity, quality and food safety, difficulties in promoting typical products, access to funding and the structure of the value chain at a regional level. On top, agricultural policies implemented by Balkan Med countries in recent decades have led to their increasing dependence on imports and to their total exposure to volatile international markets.AgroLabs project aims to foster the production and distribution of innovative agro food products of the Balkan Med area by organising local value chains, supporting producers in their development projects and creating new markets for their products. To achieve these aims towards the sustainable growth of the Agro Food sector, all relevant actors should be engaged. The promotion of sustainable agrofood development requires that "enabling environments", in particular those aimed at ensuring innovation, continuing human resource development and capacity building, are promoted and maintained. This will be achieved through the development of Agro Food innovation clusters, a place where research, industry and authorities can meet to co-create the Balkan Med area’s competences in innovation of agrofood sector. This will contribute to the organisation of agrofood value chains, support SMEs and producers and promote their products in local and international markets.

    The main output of AgroLabs project include the diagnosis of the agrofood chain in Greece, Cyprus, Albania and Bulgaria, 4 agrofood innovation clusters (AgroLabs), Joint conceptualisation of cluster projects, Participatory development of pilot cluster project to address common challenges, to be more competitive and to generate economies of scale etc, Innovative products through the implementation of pilot activities, Regional capacity building training sessions for SMEs and local support structures in the agro food value chain and raising local authority awareness. The outputs will benefit producers, SMEs and all actors in the Agro food value chain, local/regional authorities and the participating regions. The innovative “bottom-up” approach of AgroLabs will allow to meet the needs and the aspirations of the involved stakeholders and to ensure the appropriation of the AgroLabs clusters by building a joint strategy through cross-border exchange. This will lead to the creation of the Balkan Med network of agro-food clusters. In addition AgroLabs partners acting as facilitators will provide stakeholder support throughout the project lifetime.
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