Advancement of non-technological innovation performance and innovation capacity in fruit growing and processing sector in selected Baltic Sea Region countries


March 2016 -
February 2019

Completed
1. Innovation 1.1 R&I infrastructures

InnoFruit

The project InnoFruit created a sustainable network of fruit-growing companies to make them more successful and competitive across the Baltic Sea region markets thanks to the exchange of innovative solutions.

 

The opportunity

Fruit-growing sector with high potential

Fruit-growing industry demonstrates high potential for further development in the Baltic Sea region due to an expanding demand for healthy food.

Poland is one of the largest fruit-growers in Europe with around 4 million tons of fruit and berries produced on average every year. The best practices of the Polish fruit sector could efficiently be replicated in Latvia and Lithuania, and help them open up to new markets or to reposition their products. However, despite the high level of research in Latvia and Lithuania, the transfer of knowledge and innovation, both technological and non-technological, is limited due to the lack of advisory systems, slow development of fruit-growing cooperatives, and low absorptive capacity of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Sharing best practices across borders

In order to boost innovative capacity, especially in the areas of processes, organisation, and marketing innovations, owners of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) need to find ways to exchange knowledge and learn about best practices from other countries. Testing and implementing innovative solutions successful in one country are likely to work in another. This needs to be complemented with better tailored services offered by research organisations.

Highlights

Sustainable network for sustainable production

InnoFruit has established an open demo-farm network, which includes 22 research organisations and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). 12 members of the network from Latvia, five from Lithuania and five from Poland signed agreements on their responsibilities, obligations and eligibility requirements. The network ensures the future transfer of practical knowledge and skills, either through peer-to-peer learning among fruit-growers within and across the countries, or through researcher-farmer cooperation, on e.g. farm trials, testing and demonstration of new technologies.

New knowledge on demand

So far, 550 SMEs acquired new knowledge during cross-country visits to the demo farms, but also at consultations, trainings and seminars. They learned about good practices and the practical implementation of, for example, devices to process and store fruits and berries, or equipment to sterilise bottles for juice.

The project also created recipes for healthy products with reduced sugar and increased fibre, as well as a mobile application “Resistant apples” for the Latvian market, which shows cultivar-specific information, such as growing characteristics, appearance, composition, possible ways of usage and resistance to potential diseases.

From growing fruit to affecting policies

InnoFruit compiled recommendations for policy makers, in particular national ministries, in order to help them further develop common agricultural policies in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Among other things, the project recommends a balanced regional coverage of independent full-time advisors in fruit growing as part of a national advisory system, as well as financial and non-financial incentives for commercial farms to become involved in hosting on-farm demonstrations in fruit-growing. The recommendations were already communicated to the Ministry of Agriculture of Republic of Latvia.

The Interreg InnoFruit used EUR 1.27 million from the European Union to trigger exchange of knowledge and innovative solutions among fruit-growers in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. This is how Interreg helps build trust across the borders and fosters a more competitive Baltic Sea region.

 

 

 

Project Stories

Budgets

Total
€ 1.50
million
Erdf
€ 1.27
million
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
million
Norway
€ 0.00
million

PARTNERS

Outputs

CONTACTS

Project manager

Institute of Horticulture

Ilze Lesiņa

37 129 147 993

Legal representative

Institute of Horticulture, Latvia University of Agriculture

Inese Ebele

37 129 466 525

Financial manager

Institute of Horticulture

Inga Sazonova

+37163722294

Communication manager

Latvia State institute of Fruit Growing

Edite Kaufmane

37 163 722 294