SALSA is currently publishing a series of short videos through the SALSA Twitter account @SalsaH2020 that gathers the impressions and experiences of some of the persons involved in the SALSA project. These interviews cover some of the many aspects of the eight Work Packages as well as the role of the Expert Stakeholder Panel.
We will continue the publications over the coming weeks so follow us on @SalsaH2020 or go directly to our YouTube channel. This post will be updated as more videos are released.

Teresa Pinto Correia, project coordinator, from the Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (ICAAM), of the University of Évora (Portugal) introduces the SALSA project. She explains why there was a need for a project that analyses and provides evidence on the role of small farms and small food businesses in food and nutrition security. Salsa poses the question: what role do small farms play for food security and how do they contribute?

Stefano Grando (University of Pisa) explains how the partners of the SALSA project agreed on the concept of small farm: starting from a definition of size, taking into consideration the context of the small farms, they also looked at relational aspects. “We can say farms are small if they need to horizontally cooperate with other players to overcome limits related to their size“.The University of Pisa (UNIPI) is leader of Work Package 1: Transdisciplinary theory building and analytical framework. WP1 aims at developing, through a trans-disciplinary process, a better understanding of the role of small farms and small food businesses in food and nutrition security. WP1 is now developing of an empirically grounded conceptual framework based on the progress of the SALSA research. “Research results both confirmed and challenged initial assumptions”.

Sergio Godinho (University of Évora) describes how his team tested the capabilities of the Sentinel-2 satellite to produce information on small farms such as crop-type maps, the extraction of crop areas and the estimation of crop production.  Illustrating the main challenges in using the new Sentinel-2 satellite imagery in the SALSA project, he explains how the combination of Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-1 proved to be a good option.

This activity belongs to Work Package 2 Estimating the distribution of small farms and their actual and potential production capacity. This research has added the use of innovations such as GIS and remote sensing to the SALSA project.

Bill Vorley, from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), explains his role as member of the Expert Stakeholder Panel of the SALSA project. The Expert Stakeholders get together a number of times during the project “taking an integrated approach on how it’s going, how close to the original objective it is and what relevant policy messages are coming out”.

He also stresses the importance of SALSA not only looking at small farmers but at small farm businesses as well. Another important aspect is the involvement of both African and European countries.

I think the project has been very well managed, there’s great new evidence, it’s been well documented and as an adviser I’m quite excited about what this project can contribute at a very critical point in policy”.

Samuel Féret, President of Groupe de Bruges, Coordinator of ARC2020 and member of the Expert Stakeholder Panel, illustrates how he sees the project moving forward. For him an important aspect of the SALSA project is the possibility to contribute to policy recommendations to facilitate small farming.  Another element of importance is the progressive building of a scientific community around small farming. “I’m confident that the SALSA project will act as a milestone for future research on small farmers”.

 

María Rivera Méndez (University of Evora ) and Alejandro Guarín (IIED) from Work Package 3 In-depth assessment of food systems in the 30 reference regions have been coordinating and collecting data based on different sources of information (interviews to key informants, focus groups and regional workshops) from all the WPs. One of the main challenges for WP3 has been to find indicators that are both comparable but still show different realities and contexts. There is much prejudice on small farmers; they are marginal, on their way out –  but we found that across regions, income levels and different kinds of value chains, they play quite an important role.

Dionisio Ortiz Miranda (University of Valencia) leader of Work Package 4 Participatory foresight analysis explains why it was important for the team of his department of Economics and Social Sciences to participate in the SALSA project and to get involved with a network of researcher from both European and African countries.

In this video Dionisio Ortiz Miranda talks about the experience of leading the participatory foresight analysis for the SALSA project, an exercise aimed to assess the potential contribution of small farms and business to the regional food production and to identify the preconditions to maximize their contribution to food and nutrition security. A total of 13 workshop have been organized across Europe and Africa. Dionisio Ortiz Miranda also discusses the main challenges encountered during these participatory activities.

Sandra Sumane of the Baltic Studies Centre illustrates the SALSA Community of Practice, a multi-stakeholder learning platform that allows members to network, exchange ideas and validate the SALSA research progress as well as to link with policymaking processes related to small farms and small food businesses.This activity is part of workpackage 7 Communication and joint learning

Annalisa Saccardo of COLDIRETTI, the major Italian farmers union and the biggest one in Europe, explains what COLDIRETTI is bringing to the SALSA project and its importance to farmers. “To us small is beautiful in Agriculture”. Annalisa Saccardo also highlights that being a small farmer gives the opportunity to invest in biodiversity and talk about the importance of improving short supply chains to guarantee access to the market.

Theodore Tsiligiridis describes why the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) was interested in participating in the SALSA project. The team of AUA has been particularly involved in the technology aspect of the project, through the use of SENTINEL-2A. Reliable accurate data and a monitoring system are highlighted by Theodore Tsiligiridis as added values of the SALSA project.

Arlindo Fortes illustrates the main accomplishments obtained by the University of Cape Verde from the participation in the SALSA project. He also highlights the importance of the SALSA results at the level of research on small farms in Africa. For the stakeholders participating in the workshops it is a great opportunity to have access to this kind of data.

Marta Czekaj talks about the role of the the University of Krakow (Poland) in the SALSA project and also shares some of the results related to the analyzed regions in Poland – in the EU the country with the highest number of small farms.”We found that polish farms are very similar to African small farms”.

Richard Yeboah describes the main positive aspects of the participation of the University of Development Studies (UDS) in the SALSA project. UDS is one of the partners bringing the African perspective into the work of SALSA. One of the major findings is the similarity between small farms in Africa and, especially, Eastern Europe.

Irina Toma from Highclere Consulting, illustrates the SALSA projects innovative policy work , which includes SWOT analyses. She stresses the importance of  SALSA’s policy workshops,  organized in the four macro-regions where SALSA operates: Southern Europe, Northern Europe, Central-Eastern Europe, Africa.

Mark Redman talks about the role of the Highclere Consulting team in the SALSA project.
Highclere especially focuses on taking evidence from the research work turning it into useful policy recommendations that integrate the concept of food and nutrition security in the support of small farms. He also shares some key messages on small farms from the perspective of Central and Eastern Europe.

Henrik Eli Almaas explains the role of the Institute for Rural and Regional Research (Ruralis) in the SALSA project and describes the main findings in Hedmark, the SALSA Reference Region in Norway.

Barbara Adolph, from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), talks about the innovative cooperation between African and European partners in the SALSA project. She highlights the challenges faced by small farms in the analyzed regions. Although the contexts can be very different, in some cases small farms can face similar challenges.

Karin Nichterlein explains the role of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in the SALSA project, as the team responsible for the project’s Work Package on Communication and Joint Learning, together with the Baltic Studies Center. In particular, she highlights that it is essential to properly communicate the research results to the different audiences. In the video, she also outlines the main challenges faced by her team during the project.