At the end of March 2023 a 2-day workshop entitled “Agroforestry: first colloquies on agroforestry systems in Veneto region” was held in the city of Padova, in the NE of Italy, with the aim to discuss the current state of the art of agroforestry practices in the region, and to draw the path of future developments in the framework of the new Common Agricultural Policy 2023-27. The workshop was organized by researchers of the two main Departments of the University of Padova involved in agroforestry research projects, i.e., the Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF) and the Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), and by Veneto Agricoltura Agency, the Veneto Region’s Agency for Innovation in the Primary Sector. The event was possible thanks also to a fruitful collaboration with the Italian Association of Agroforestry (AIAF), the National Association of Regional Forestry Activities (ANARF), and the National Research Centre for Agricultural Technologies (AGRITECH).
The workshop aimed at responding to the growing interest in the topic of agroforestry with a 2-days of discussions, technical focuses and field visits, that allowed for an intense knowledge transfer and networking between stakeholders and all operators involved in the agroforestry sector. More than 130 participants took part of the event in person and about 30 additional people attended online. Among them, farmers, technicians and advisors were the most represented, but also some regional officiers and policymakers were present, as well as students and researchers of the University of Padova. The first day of the workshop was hosted at the University of Padova and, thanks to the presentations of several experts, it was discussed about (i) the main outputs of the current research projects on agroforestry systems, with the contribution of researchers studying silvoarable, silvopastoral and agrosilvopastoral practices, (ii) the key steps for the implementation of agroforestry practices, with specific technical focuses and analysis of some case studies, (iii) the current certification opportunities for sustainable agroforestry practices, and (iv) the national and regional funding opportunities in the framework new Common Agricultural Policy 2023-27. The presence of regional officers, that came to present the details of the specific regional calls for financing trees plantation and maintenance was crucial to both showing that there is a strong interest by the regional policy and administration in supporting agroforestry and clearing out the specific features of the new regional programs. The second day was held at “Sasse Rami” agroforestry pilot farm of Veneto Agricoltura, located in Ceregnano (RO), which hosts several agroforestry projects on silvoarable techniques. In the different areas of interest of the farm, a group of experts (technicians, researchers, advisors) was available to discuss about some specific technical aspects of silvoarable practices, and participants could walk around the farm and stop to discuss with experts. The main focus dealt with (i) poplars in silvoarable systems: design, choice of suitable clones, pruning techniques, wood quality, water relation with crops, etc.; (ii) crops in silvoarable systems: cultivation techniques, suitable varieties, microclimate modifications, soil quality; (iii) paulownia in silvoarable systems: cultivation techniques, clones comparison, market opportunities, etc.
Additionally, the presence of Fabien Balaguer, director of the French Association for Agroforestry (AFAF), during the 2 day of the workshop, was a great opportunity to share knowledge and discuss different approaches towards the implementation of agroforestry, but also to strengthen the collaboration between the French and Italian associations for agroforestry.
Useful links with additional information are below:
- Flyer of the workshop: https://www.venetoagricoltura.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Locandina_DEFINITIVA-150223.pdf
- Presentations of the speakers: https://www.venetoagricoltura.org/evento/primi-colloqui-sui-sistemi-agrosilvopastorali-in-veneto/
- Video-registration of the 1st day: https://www.youtube.com/live/PrMKIrmz4JE?feature=share
Video-registration of the 2nd day: https://youtu.be/U7dfdMhrKH4
Article authored by Anna Panozzo, Italian delegate of EURAF.