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Workshop 5: Policy recommendations to make the sociotechnical systems more disposed to crop diversification

At the European Conference on Crop Diversification, a workshop was held on policy recommendations to make the sociotechnical systems more disposed to crop diversification. It was co-organised by Barbara Pancino (University of Tuscia, Italy/Diverfarming) and Bálint Balázs (ESSRG, Hungary/TRUE) and explored the role of public policies in the socio-technical lock-in that prevents crop diversification despite its benefits.

Two input presentations explored how current policies may provide incentives to promote crop diversification. Barbara Pancino discussed how to promote crop diversification across Europe, then Bálint Balázs presented new governance solutions for legume-based food systems.

During the facilitated breakout sessions, we discussed enablers and barriers to crop diversification and legume-based food systems. The first group identified the following enablers:

  • Need for more R&D projects;
  • Horizontal linkages between companies/firms;
  • Cluster management;
  • Dietary guidelines;
  • Introduction of a minimum compulsory amount of local food in public kitchens (long-term contract);
  • Infrastructure;
  • Reward for diversification. 

The second group identified the following barriers:

  • Lack of variety in diets (also for livestock);
  • Standardization of production processes;
  • Lack of technology (depending on the context);
  • Lack of knowledge on how to diversify production (management and organization);
  • Lack of access to R&D projects and funds;
  • Cost of food: low income families can afford only “standardized” food and then demand only that, resulting in low demand for diversified food.

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