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Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The “Dimitra” Velvedos Agricultural Cooperative Producers Organisation was founded in 1987 in the municipality of Velvedos, 30 km southwest of Kozani, in the foothills of Pieria, a region with ideal microclimate for fruit production, especially peaches and nectarines. Its foundation was originally a project of a small group of producers driven by knowledge, experience, passion and love for rural production, long experience with cultivations, production and marketing of fresh fruit. This project provided training for executives and production managers of rural enterprises among the ranks organization members. The educational content has been orientated based on the management’s observations and recordings of certain disparities between domestic production and the production of other, more advanced, European rural economies. Implementation was held in northern Italy with the participation of 30 trainees, in one flow that will last for 11 days. The activities were conducted in co-operation with the hosting organization (Euromobilita S.r.l.) which is expected to leverage the project’s value by contributing the participation of some of the most recognized collaborative and productive organizations, agencies, manufacturers and qualified technical personnel. The activities featured series of theoretical seminars, workshops, technical visits and complementary activities. The project identified and examined qualitative characteristics and value added strategic advantages of an advanced agricultural economy, such as that of the Emilia Romagna region in Italy, which can lead to a significant increase foreign market penetration ability and degree. Such features include integration of external (scientific, technological) and internal (administrative, operational) innovation, continuing collective and collaborative initiatives (consortia), continuous and intense state support, as well as commitment to automation, standardization and certifications. Potential beneficiaries include executives and production managers of companies that are members to the organization. Priority was given to beneficiaries associated with relatively smallholdings, counting human resources up to 50 people. The commonplace regarding their educational needs is: 1) Need for access to productive and administrative innovation 2) Need for access to scientific research and information 3) Need for access to new technologies 4) Need for information on certification issues 5) Need to integrate quality assurance practices 6) Need for strengthening the collective and collaborative spirit 7) Need to enhance adaptability to evolving conditions 8) Need for form extrovert awareness and attitude Participants came into direct contact with the productive and entrepreneurial environment of this economy, in order to record and assimilate as many aspects as possible revolving its structure and operation. They had the opportunity to review, diversify and improve their own knowledge and skills, thus increasing their own will to intensify integration of innovative production and management practices in their own work, as well as to further develop their collaborative spirit to the benefit of strengthening personal and collective extroversion. Moreover, measures are provided to strengthen the impact of this project, through use of European certification tools. Taking up such initiative, greatly enhances the organization’s extroversion and expands existing - or opens up new - routes for knowledge transfer and exchange. To successfully implement this project, to achieve its educational objectives and to thoroughly identify and disseminate results, would lead to improving the organization’s operational framework, highlighting its supportive work and upgrading its institutional role, an impact clearly present long after the completion of the project.

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