Capacity Building Training Workshop: the software platform to manage CAP fruit and vegetable surplus withdrawals, a good practice to be transferred to Europe

19 October 2023 By

On 18-19 October 2023, the LOWINFOOD partner Emilia-Romagna Region organised a capacity-building training workshop in Bologna, to disseminate in Europe an innovative model already successfully implemented and in continuous evolution. The project is aimed at enhancing the experience gained in Emilia-Romagna through the development and use of the S.I.R: the software platform allows managing fresh fruit and vegetable products surplus, which is collected through the measure of “withdrawals from the market” and distributed to charities, considered extremely avant-garde in the European panorama.

During the workshop, participants were shown in detail how the S.I.R. platform works and had the chance to attend field demonstrations of the whole process, in view of its possible application in Romania, with the hope that it could become a case study to be replicated in other countries in the next future.

The first day of the capacity building workshop was divided into two parts: during the morning session, the Romanian delegation was welcomed first. It was composed of Christian Popescu, a representant from the National University of Science and Technology Polithecnica University in Bucarest;  Iuliana Oprescu, manager of the Valea Topologului Agricultural Cooperative, and Dumitra Sima, representative of SALVATI COPIII (Save the Children Romania). Then, the virtuous cycle of market withdrawals of fruit and vegetable surplus in favour of charities coordinated by Emilia-Romagna Region was explained. The S.I.R (Sistema Informatico Ritiri) web application allowed to increase in the amount of products distributed, over 90% over the total amount of withdrawn fruit and vegetables. Professor Popescu explained how the market withdrawals work in Romania (figures and product variety), and then each player in the process (Region, producer organizations, charities, the agro-food centres that provide important logistic support through their facilities and their expertise) explained the benefits of this system and how the complete digitalization helped to improve it and allow more and more low-income families to introduce fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet.

The afternoon session was dedicated to a live demo of the SIR platform: the Romanian delegation had the opportunity to practically test the program, each one with their specific user profile (authority, producer organization and charity, which is the beneficiary of the process).

The second day of the event had a more practical approach with a visit to Parma for the weekly delivery of products in the morning and the distribution to charities in the early afternoon. The Romanian delegation and the project partners received a warm welcome from Cal Parma:  President Marco Core, Director Giulietta Magagnoli and the staff explained how the agro-food centre works and how the sympathetic logistic project not only perfectly fits in the workflow of CAL (since during the day no operations are going on), but wants to become a reference model for other agro-food centres in Emilia-Romagna and in other regions. At the conclusion of the capacity building, Emilia-Romagna region and Romanian partners agreed on implementing the SIR application to their system with a detailed work plan and periodic follow-up meetings. Professor Popescu and his colleagues on the one hand, Emilia-Romagna and University of Bologna on the other were both satisfied with this fruitful, useful and exciting opportunity that they hope could soon bring tangible results.