Postal, 27 June 2018 – Dr. Schär, leading company in the gluten-free foods market in Europe, has announced that the Re-Cereal project is among the 5 finalists of this edition of the Regiostars Awards. This award is an important recognition promoted by the European Commission to share and give greater visibility to the good practices which have had a positive impact throughout Italy and Austria, and which can be a source of inspiration for other European regions.
Dr. Schär’s R&D Centre in Trieste headed by Dr. Virna Cerne promoted the Re-cereal project. The project is financed by the European Fund for Regional Development and the Interreg V-A Italy-Austria program and is designed to help revive and promote the agricultural tradition of the alpine regions, where the crops typical of high mountain regions (barley, rye, oats, millet, buckwheat) have always been widely grown. The cross-border project sees the collaboration between Dr. Schär and a selected network of partners, including universities (the University of Udine and the University of Innsbruck), agricultural research institutes (Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture) and businesses (Kärntner Saatbau and Dr. Schär Austria in Klagenfurt) with expertise in the fields of genetics, chemistry, agronomics and food science.
Beginning in November 2016 and set to last 30 months, the Re-Cereal project consists of 7 different phases (“Work Packages”), all designed to improve the quality and the yield of oats, buckwheat and millet, optimising cultivation methods to promote a more widespread use in the area involved in the programme. And it is precisely this aim to improve the quality and the yield of the “minor cereals” (oats and millet) and one pseudo-cereal (buckwheat), all naturally gluten-free, that has driven the project to recover different varieties from countries both in and outside Europe, and their cultivation in experimental fields in Friuli Venezia Giulia, South Tyrol and Carinthia. Running in parallel is a focus on developing milling processes capable of preserving the naturally rich nutritional content of these three crops, while the development of innovative methods of analysis allows a rapid assessment of the various grains and their flours from a nutritional, sensory and technological standpoint.
These analyses have already allowed the Re-Cereal researchers to identify the most promising varieties. Thanks to a carefully targeted crossbreeding programme, these varieties will permit researchers to obtain selections with an optimal agricultural performance, as well as technological, sensory and nutritional characteristics, which make them ideal for food industry applications, as well as guaranteeing the satisfaction of consumers.
According to the experts of the Re-Cereal project, the reintroduction of millet, oats and buckwheat in the alpine regions – in place of or as an alternative to the intensive farming of maize or wheat – could also play a fundamental role in crop rotation, where the soil is often impoverished by monoculture. Agronomists, for example, consider buckwheat, as a “second crop” with many positive attributes: its numerous roots break up the clumps of soil, softening the ground, while its hardiness makes it easier to grow without the use of fertilisers or pesticides. The final results of the Re-Cereal project will be presented in March 2019 at the Area Science Park in Trieste, home also to the Dr. Schär R&D Centre.
A contender in category 1 “Supporting smart industrial transition”, the Re-Cereal project was selected from 105 entries, meeting as it did all four assessment criteria: innovation; project impact in terms of initial objectives / expected impact; envisaged financial sustainability of the project, and the potential for applying good practices from the project to other regions. The winning projects in each category will be featured in a brochure published by the European Commission and in the online database of best practices on the site http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/projects. A video will also be created for each winning project, to be presented on the day of the awards ceremony in Brussels, before being published online and promoted with an accompanying advertising campaign.
Public voting is available under this link: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/regio-stars-awards/finalists_2018/cat1_fin5
«At Dr. Schär Innovation is our development motor – says Ulrich Ladurner, President of the Dr. Schär Group – which is why we have chosen to promote and support the Re-Cereal project. We are particularly proud to be among the finalists of the Regiostars Award, with a project which demonstrates how innovation can bring new life to crops which were believed to have disappeared from our area, but also how the low impact of crops such as oats, millet and buckwheat can effectively contribute to the sustainability of the food chain».
For further information on the project: http://www.re-cereal.com/it/
The RE-CEREAL project is financed by the European Fund for Regional Development and Interreg V-A Italia-Austria 2014-2020