THE PROJECT

The Project “Improvement and valorisation of date palms” in the Al Jufrah Oases, in Libya, funded by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Foreign Ministry and coordinated by the Istituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare in Florence, in collaboration with the Libyan Ministry of Agriculture, was launched within the framework of the agreement between Italy and Libya aimed at strengthening and further developing relations between the two countries.

Project presentation ›› The documentation on the project ››

Project description

The Libyan central government and the local administrations have a joint interest in improving the existing systems in agriculture, forestry and pasture.
The Italian government, in supporting the “agricultural enhancement of land cleared of military remnants from World War II”, has thus promoted a successful collaboration and assistance programme in the agricultural, animal husbandry and environmental fields. The partnership activities in Al Jufrah, which the two countries began in May 2009, aim at supporting local economic development through coordinated actions benefiting local date producers, either working individually or in association.

Strategies

The Project aims to ensure both vertical and horizontal synergies and continuity: from producer to consumer (vertical) and encouraging local producers to join together in associations for the processing and marketing of the produce (horizontal). To achieve this aim it has involved all the stakeholders throughout the production chain, promoting and strengthening associations that manage all activities, from production to marketing. The model, taken as a reference in this process, was the experience in Italy in the promotion of typical local products (IGP and DOC/DOP), where the goal was to enhance both the product and the entire territory, providing both protection and promotion.

This strategy follows two guiding principles:
  • Identification and guarantee of quality dates through:
    • production codes of conduct, drawn up in collaboration with the producers, that become binding regulations
    • homogeneity and quality of the end product
    • respect for traditional production methods through the use of low environmental impact agricultural practices
    • establishment of a collective brand
  • Protection of agro-biodiversity by strengthening the traditional practices for the use and management of the oases

The aims of the project are focussed on practical application. For this reason, participatory techniques will be implemented, in order to involve all stakeholders in all different stages of date production, processing and marketing.

Aims

The overall objective of the project is to identify technical and economic measures aimed at supporting and enhancing economically the date-production chain, promoting the social and economic development of the Al Jufra Oases region, whereas the specific objectives are:

  • preserve and improve the genetic heritage of date palms and their traditional cultivation methods
  • enhance the production, processing and marketing, both domestic and international, of the local varieties of dates
These actions have led to:
  • an increase – in both quality and quantity – in date production, through genetic selection and improvement of the local varieties
  • the introduction of cultivation methods capable of optimizing the use of water and energy resources, thus reducing negative impact on the environment
  • improvement in the processing and marketing of produce, domestically and internationally