In the Mediterranean region, rangeland and pastoral systems considered as the traditional way of farming contain elements that can be proved of high value under the new conditions, related with the need for the protection of the environment and biodiversity and with consumer demands on safe and quality products. These production systems utilizing local genetic resources adapted to the production environment could increase their profitability through the modernization of the production systems and by enhancing the means of commercialization of the products.
The project aims to investigate the factors that influence the sustainability of pastoral and rangeland production systems in the participating countries, focusing on sheep and goat production, and examine the adaptation strategies to the socio-economic and environmental challenges. Towards this aim, the following aspects will be examined:
1) the different components of the production systems,
2) the role of local authorities and the organisation at territorial level,
3) the distribution of the products through the supply chain, the trends in the market and the role of the different stakeholders.
Tools will be developed to support the sustainable development of the production systems contributing to the increase of the value of the breeds, their commercial valorisation, their uptake in agriculture and their positive impact in rural economies.
The plan will allow to underline positive synergies in breeds-products interactions. The aim is to enhance the interactions between local genetic resources and quality products by (i) reviewing the existing strategies and (ii) supporting the development of new ones.
The transverse analyses of specific case studies in the partner countries in a comparative way will allow the construction of specific guidelines to promote breeding programmes and valorisation strategies for local breeds. The outputs will provide practical frameworks for the valorisation of local genetic resources and the successful uptake of their products into the markets.