EURAF member’s voices from Latvia and Italy

 

As agroforestry is nothing without trees and agriculture… EURAF is empty without its members!

This is why we have decided to meet with Ilze SILAMIKELE from the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture and Anna PANOZZO, PhD student in Crop Science at the University of Padua in Italy. Their EURAF membership is quite recent. They have joined EURAF because, in Latvia, agroforestry is quite new and Ilze wanted to learn more about agroforestry; and because Anna, after her research activities on agroforestry systems during her master’s degree at INRA in Montpellier, is actually working on the multiple interaction between trees and crops in silvoarable agroforestry systems in the North East of Italy.

Precisely, Ilze’s interest in EURAF is mainly about practices in northern regions, while Anna is interested in:

  • The fundamental role of multi-actor approach for spreading agroforestry farming in Europe;
  • Crops in silvoarable agroforestry systems;
  • Environmental and social ecosystem services of agroforestry;
  • The implication of EURAF to make real the transition from conventional agriculture to new resilient farming models; and
  • News and the material shared by EURAF website.

Even though their participation in EURAF is “passive”, as they say, for different reasons such as English language or lack of time, they will be happy to be more active sharing experiences, promoting benefits of agroforestry for farmers and disseminating scientific results to general public as it is key to raise awareness on the high potentials of agroforestry farming towards climate change, food security and farmer’s welfare. This year, Anna, to remain informed, follows the Agenda of the monthly EURAF meetings that her national delegate share with the Italian stakeholders.

Synergy between European and national levels is essential to develop agroforestry at every scale. In Latvia, there isn’t a national agroforestry association yet, but the Latvian EURAF delegates Dagnija LAZDINA and Arta BARDULE are the key link between both scales. In Italy, the AIAF (Associazione Italiana per l’Agroforestazione) and the Italian delegates, Francesca CAMILLI and Adolfo ROSATI, establish a good communication between EURAF and their members. Anna, pleased with AIAF and EURAF collaboration, proposes some ways of improving such as “a greatest sharing of experiences in research projects, in teaching and training activities, as well as awareness-raising activities with stakeholders, in order to better identify what is successful, what can be made differently, and which approach is effective”.

Finally, we have asked them about the perception of agroforestry conferences. For now, Ilze has participated in national conferences, while Anna has already taken part to the EURAF conference in Nijmegen in 2018 and the World Agroforestry Congress in Montpellier in 2019. Also, the future 5th European Agroforestry Conference, which will occur in Nuoro the 17th to 19th May 2021, is an opportunity, as Anna says, “to continue to get a deeper insight on agroforestry farming and contribute to the awareness raising on the great potential of this farming model for the temperate climates”.

If you want, as Ilze and Anna, to give us your testimony as EURAF member, don’t hesitate to contact Claire Lemarié (French delegate) or Katarina Holmdahl (Swedish delegate).

Claire Lemarié & Katarina Holmdahl