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8-10 of April 2024 Training in Comrat State University (Moldova)


Within the UniClaD Erasmus + project for the development of agri-food clusters in Moldova, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, 3-day workshops was organized at Comrat State University (CSU). During 3 days representatives of 5 European countries shared their experience with representatives of Ukraine, Moldova and Azerbaijan in order to transfer knowledge and increase competence in the field of clustering of countries. The training started with a welcome speech from the Rector of CSU, Mr Serhiy Zakharia, and the project coordinator Vytaute Giedraitiene. They underlined the importance of this event for a better understanding of cluster development in countries that either do not have this experience or have initial experience. 

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Mr. Zakharia has presented the university and has highlighted also the collaboration work with SANA in the production of milk products, but also, key outcomes of the UNICLAD project in research projects that could be the base of international funding. The Expertise Cenre which was created in frame of the UniClaD project was presented. Mr.Zakharia envisage the continuation of the Expertise Centre with financial help from the University, Private Centers and some other Farming Associations.

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Then it was the presentation of Giedrius Gecevicius, KK HEI (Lithuania) “IT Technology Application in Agriculture”. All the sessions focused on the practical outcome of the workshops. Dr.Gecevicius gave a background information of his session with the key word of ‘moonshot’ which took us to visualise scenarios that we wanted to achieve, focussing on IT.  Thus, one can thing of the efficiency improvement. Thus, those moonshots are ambitious, brave goals (opportunities) that pushes boundaries. After working in groups, each of us working in any theme of the agricultural sector, identifying the moonshots, finding challenges, how IT could help to solve them and finally, how to assess the impact of these solutions. As a key outcome of the session was that, in many cases what is stopping us to achieve those solutions is the transfer of existing knowledge that could help us to be much more efficient.

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Georg Wiesinger and Klaus Wagner from BAB (Austria) told about Cluster Innovation Farm in Austria. The background of this session started with key innovations in EU policies, such as the Research and Innovation Technology, Green Deal, European Innovation Partnerships among others) that lead us to some practical examples of Innovation Farms. The aim was to focus on new technologies, trends and developments and again, following the same path as previous sessions, the knowledge transfer could be identified as key point to be efficient in innovation. 

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The Workshop “Good practices on the creation of training courses” with the practical part was organized by Veronika Hager, Stephanie Mairhofer and Georg Wiesinger from HAUP and BAB (Austria). It was very practical session to support UNICLAD consortium in finalising the development of courses. This session showed how interacting and sharing knowledge (transfer knowledge) could help the partners to develop their commitments not only within the project, but also from an institutional level.

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The second day of the workshop started with the presentation of Noureddin Driouech from CIHEAM Bari (Italy) “Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS)”. We were informed about AKIS infrastructures, and were asked to create a living lab regarding the expertise centers’ theme(s). In our practical session:we mapped actors from different sectors;we identified challenges and barriers and we attempted to find a common solution, keeping in mind that the USER is in the center of this approach.

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In the workshop 'Clusters in the Agri-Food sector,' with Leticia Chico- Santamarta from UVA (Spain)we closely examined different agri-food clusters in Spain. Clusters are collaborations between universities, businesses, and government agencies aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of industries in a region. In Spain, various clusters exist in different regions, encompassing numerous companies all involved in activities such as production, processing, distribution, and marketing of agricultural and food products.
We also looked into the European Cluster Collaboration Platform at, whose mission it is to set up partnerships with European cluster stakeholders.
The presentation “Lean management in agriculture “and group work of Istvan Komlosi from UD (Hungary) was very interesting and useful as well. 

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The "theoretical" part of the day ended with interviews of the project participants and coordinators with local TV channels. They underlined the importance of the project, and the local media, in turn, expressed interest in the project and its result.

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The second half of the day was devoted to a visit to a dairy farm, where the participants were able to get acquainted with the conditions of cattle keeping, see the equipment used on the farm, and learn about the specifics of the farm. Maria Akbash, the owner of the farm and a project participant, gave a tour of the farm and answered all the questions that the programme participants had.

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The final day of the training was devoted to clusters development. Natalya Mayevska, scientific consultant of Ukrainian Food Valley presented the modern cluster movement in Ukraine and prepared the workshop of cluster activities and practical experience in the field. Ms. Maievska presented the business model and organizational structure of “Tomato Cluster” from Cherkassy region, Ukraine. She also presented: the UniClaD's Mission and its transformation in time; Different groups of R&D center stakeholder’s and connections in the business network; The RD center business-model. All partners worked in three groups on CANVAS  methodology as example of synergy of UniClaD consortium members. Groups developed and presented a business model for their R&D center (Center of Excellence). Workshop participants from EU countries acted as a group moderator.
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Izabela Lipinska from  PULS (Poland) presented the role of clusters in increasing the competitiveness of agricultural producers in the agri-food supply chains. Main remarks and recommendations from her presentation:we still develop how to improve cooperation between clusters members and how to develop it; sharing best practices is crucial in agri-food supply chain;developing cooperative ties requires the active involvement of all stakeholders and should be natural; involvement requires making all stakeholders aware of the community of interests, in which public sector entities with appropriate cluster policy instruments and research centres should play a crucial role; the role of clusters in the competitive development of the agri-food sector depends not only on the economic potential they represent, but also on their support through public intervention.
So, the 3 days of the training were intense, fruitful, and valuable. The European partners shared their experience with partners from Ukraine, Moldova and Azerbaijan, and they, in turn, increased their level of knowledge in order to contribute to the development of clusters in their countries.