Project budget5 873 743 €
ERDF amount3 381 513 €
The project addresses the need for an environmentally friendly and resource efficient economy focusing on horticulture, using plant resources in a more sustainable, efficient and integrated manner. Although the horticulture industry presents multifaceted societal benefits, the need for transition towards bio-economy is largely overlooked so far. There is much potential, but development, testing and uptake of green innovations is slow due to suboptimal interaction between researchers and SMEs, problematic financing and lack of cross disciplinary working and effective support strategies.
To accelerate the transition to a bio-economy by implementing regional test and pilot projects for development of new techniques, methods and products in the horticultural sector and supporting their development towards market uptake.
Central challenges are to strengthen the supportive role of public authorities to better facilitate and support SMEs to develop more innovations and bring them to the market, to valorise horticultural waste streams and byproducts by extracting valuable plant compounds, and to encourage support from SMEs for the bio-economy and understanding the opportunities.
- Specific approach to support the transition to a bio-economy
- 3 Regional bio-economy partnerships that facillitate SMEs (UK, BE, NL)
- 3 Regional action plans (UK, BE, NL)
- Bio-economy awareness and activation campaign
- Open innovation platform Bio-based Horticulture
- 9 Pilot projects dealing with horticultural waste streams and byproducts for use for food, feed, green pesticides, materials, pharmaceutics and cosmetics
Cross border approach
The bio-economy, green innovations and its markets are developments that go far beyond regional and national scale. Developments towards a bio-economy are relatively new and it is of the greatest importance that parties forge links, share perspectives, and build new approaches.
Therefore there is potential and need for the front runners to engage in cross-disciplinary, and cross border thinking in creating the solutions. Vice versa these front-runners have a strong impact on the actual implementation of green innovations and thus cross border cooperation increases this impact considerably.
In its 2nd year the project encountered problems in the partnership. Two companies decided to leave the project. One was not able to take timely a decision on the necessary investments for a pilot activity, due to market circumstances. The other could not allocate the necessary staff in the aftermath of a merger. A third partner could not perform because of organisational and financial problems. Luckily the partners were able to find a solution for this. Three new partners joined the project (companies) and will implement similar activities as the two partners who left. The existing project partners took over activities from the partner who could not perform. The change is effected via a project modification.
The established regional collaborations of the horticultural industry with researchers and public authorities ('platforms') (co) organised 40 activities in 2018 in the participating regions in the UK, NL and BE with in total over 1600 participants from various target groups.
On 21 June the project's 2nd international seminar 'Agro-food waste streams: from cost to source of income' was held in Beitem (BE). The project activities were presented and entrepreneurs shared their success stories with more than 70 people. This was almost double as much as anticipated.
On the project website 29 articles/news items were published and 3 new e-newsletters were send around to over 16.900 email addresses.
The BioBoost 'Inventory' has been finished. This inventory provides better understanding of the three regions involved in the project: Flanders region around Roeselare (BE), Westland region (NL) and Lea Valley with reference to Kent (UK) in terms of agricultural crops and related waste streams. Also the principle of a circular and bio-economy and its relevance for the horticultural sector is described. The document provides a joint basis for the partners to shape effective actions to stimulate the circular economy in horticulture and serves as input for a project strategy developed at a later stage of the project. It is published on the project website. During collection of data interaction with growers has indicated that many are passionate about waste reduction and keen to embrace the concept of a circular economy and bio-economy, but require help, guidance and infrastructure to realise this aim.
The stabilisation tests of horticultural waste streams with different methods and techniques were completed and the results are laid down in a report.