Recently a fruitful workshop has been organised in order to discuss the case study dilemma how to maintain and encourage extensive management (grazing) of grassland habitats and how to become (or remain) competitive in the market without intensifying the farming practice.
The group in the workshop consisted of representatives of farmers associations, Agricultural advisory service, Ministry of Agriculture, Chamber of Agriculture, environmental NGO’s. During the workshop stakeholders relevant to the dilemma were identified and discussed.
It was interesting to find out that not only most influential stakeholders as governmental institutions or large dairy cooperatives have a significant role, but also small initiatives, such as mobile farmer’s markets or schools and gardens as an important channel to sell the production. Consumers are also considered as a part of the network and do have an influence in the network through purchase decisions.
It was discussed what should be done in order to improve the conditions for extensive dairy farms:
- there is a need for stable and continuous agricultural policy, strong vision, strategic goals and concrete plans to address the issues of and support the development of agroecology;
- there is a need for stronger and more influential representation of the interests of the extensive dairy farms and sustainable agriculture (agroecology);
- there is a need to strengthen formal and informal forms of cooperation among farmers;
- additional services needed to support extensive farms such as providing advisory, education and knowledge development services, for example, developing leadership and entrepreneurship skills or good marketing strategies. Also, to provide additional services for farms such as facilitating a possibility to hire temporary staff.