Mountain agrobiodiversity at FICO Eataly World


Mountain products and their role in preserving agrobiodiversity was presented by Rosalaura Romeo of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) on the International Day for Biological Diversity during the conference “Forgotten fruits and agrobiodiversity: resources worth saving”. The conference was organized by the Fondazione Fabbrica Italiana Contadina, ARPA Emilia Romagna, FICO, Fondazione FICO and the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA) on 22 May 2018 in Bologna, Italy. The event highlighted the importance of agricultural biodiversity as a treasure worth safeguarding and handing down to future generations as a tool for ensuring resilience in a rapidly changing environmental context, also considering climate change.

A large portion of the world's most precious gene pools for agriculture and medicine are preserved in mountains. Crops that are important for food security, such as maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, beans and apples, have been diversified in mountains. Other crops such as wheat, rye, rice, oats and grapes, have found new homes in the mountains and evolved into many varieties. Globalization offers opportunities for mountain producers to market their high-quality mountain products at the national, regional and international levels. Though mountain agriculture cannot compete with the prices and volumes of lowland production, it can concentrate on high-value, high-quality products to boost local economies.

The MPS, in collaboration with Slow Food launched a voluntary label for quality mountain products to promote access to markets for small mountain producers in developing countries. The global mountain label, supported by adequate value chains and marketing strategy, allows small producers to obtain fair compensation for their specific quality products as well as help customers make a more informed purchase.

Rosalaura presented several products involved in the Mountain Partnership Products Initiative, including Jumla’s Mixed Beans, a traditional Nepali mixture of beans with a strong link to the local culture and religious festivities. Produced in the Sinja Valley, the beans are cultivated manually and without mechanical inputs. In spite of their traditional and environmentally friendly production process, Jumla’s Mixed Beans are under the threat of being replaced by more productive crops. Rosalaura explained how the producers have benefited from being involved in the initiative: “With the Mountain Partnership Product label, the producers of Jumla’s Mixed Beans in Nepal were able to increase the price of their quality mountain product by 25 percent and over 2 000 kilograms of Jumla’s Mixed Beans have been sold at BhatBhateni supermarkets in Nepal.”

“Forgotten fruits and agrobiodiversity: resources worth saving” took place at FICO Eataly World, the world’s largest agri-food park.

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Learn more about the Mountain Partnership Products Initiative 

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