AGRILINK – Vărăști will have its first Living Lab

In April 2018 I met with two farmers’ groups that were potential candidates for the Living Lab. Following these meetings, we had very long discussions about whether we could work with both, as we planned. In the end we decided that we would go for Vărăști; we will still develop our relationship with the Rotbav farmers but in other directions and other professional opportunities. We needed to be very practical about our work, and our priority is to be effective in achieving as much as possible, given the resources available.

Our decision was motivated by our internal capacity and the budget allowed within the Agrilink project. The fact that in Vărăști we already have an established relationship gives us a head start with the Living Lab. During the project SALSA, our colleague Raluca did a needs assessment of the cooperative members, which we all considered as the most valuable starting point for Agrilink’s Living Lab. Although Rotbav is close by, we have only just met them and a needs assessment takes a lot of resources. As important in our decision is our team approach: here at Highclere we are committed to building long-lasting relationships with farmers and to support them as much as possible in reaching their goals.

From the needs assessment we knew the Vărăști cooperative was facing new financial challenges in consolidating their activity and economic position as a production cooperative. They also need marketing knowledge to become more competitive and to fulfill the terms of cooperation with their retail partner as efficiently and professionally as possible.

We decided to address their needs one after the other, to allow time for the new information to settle within their structure. We will start by developing a document with financial instructions to guide them through their development and explain various notions they need to become economically viable. They also need to get their business plan down on paper and get a better view of their numbers.

Let’s see what they think about it.

Stay tuned!

Cosmina Dinu, Highclere Consulting