GMIT LAUNCHES CEF PROJECT INTERACTIVE WEB PORTAL CONNECTING EU FOOD PRODUCERS

Researchers launch portal at International Food Entrepreneurship Conference in Poland

GMIT recently made a presentation on a research project investigating current food supply chains in Europe at the International ‘Creating Entrepreneurs in Food’ Conference held by The Polish Beef Association in Warsaw, Poland. Maria McDonagh, Project Manager, GMIT Dept of Natural Sciences, and Ronan Byrne, The Friendly Farmer and guest lecturer at GMIT, presented the ‘Creating Entrepreneurs in Food (CEF)’ project and its outputs to over seventy food producers, farmers and academics at the international event.

GMIT is currently leading this two year EU Erasmus+ funded project CEF project, which examines current food supply chains in Europe in a bid to identify innovative methods to help deliver an effective short food supply process (farm to fork) and build food innovation and entrepreneurship-focused rural communities across Europe. As part of the project, they launched an interactive web portal connecting European food producers –www.cefportal.eu

GMIT is working with three other European partners on the CEF project who also presented at the conference – the University of Bedfordshire in the UK, the European Council of Young Farmer (CEJA), in Brussels and The Polish Beef Association in Poland. The well-established partner consortium allows for access to the greater European target group enabling an in depth evaluation of the current situation and knowledge transfer on an international level.

Dr Lisa Ryan, Head of Dept of Natural Sciences (GMIT) and Project Lead, says: “GMIT is very excited to be leading such a unique European project. With the Agri-food sector being the largest indigenous industry in Ireland, we are very well equipped with high calibre academic and industry expertise in this country to lead a project of this nature. The outputs of the project are aimed at all those involved in the Agri-Food sector and we were delighted to have the opportunity to present and connect with such pertinent audience in Warsaw.”

The main outputs of the CEF project presented at the conference were a training course for food producers and an interactive web portal. The training course, which has been tested and validated, by a group of forty international food producers throughout the course of the project is aimed at providing ‘soft’ skills that will empower food producers to keep control of their business, promote innovation, create employment and move up the value chain. The second output, which is at the final stages of development, is an online web portal that will host a range of Agri-Food resources.  It will act as a one-stop-shop for those involved in the sector and will serve as a collaborative tool that stimulates the flow and exchange of knowledge and best practice between education and enterprises allowing food producers to connect and collaborate with one another.

Connecting farmers, food producers, enterprise and education have been the core themes running through the project both on a national and international level. Dr Ryan adds, “It is a privilege for Ireland and in particular GMIT to have the opportunity to actively contribute to the development of Europe’s rural economies and to Europe2020’ growth strategy.”
The CEF project is due to complete at the beginning of 2019. GMIT will organise and host an official launch of the project outputs at an International Agri-Food event, which will take place at the end of February 2019.  Further information concerning the project and the launch of the outputs are available on www.creatingentrepreneursinfood.eu and www.cefportal.eu

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