The meetings that took place from July 9 to 15 have managed to expand the contact network of the LCFeed project.
In the framework of action C6 – Replicability and Transferability of the LCFeed project – Area Europe has organized several visits with relevant actors (farmers, feed manufacturers, citrus and rice producers) in the Sicily region (Italy). Sicily is a region of special interest for the LCFeed project, since it gathers the appropriate agricultural and livestock characteristics for its replication.
One of the six companies that has shown great interest has been the feed producer Mangimi Leone. Mangimi Leone located in Catania, works with soy, barley, wheat bran, molasses and beet pulp, among other raw materials. Both the company manager Alessandro Leone and the quality manager, Francesca De Gregorio, attended the meeting. As a result, both have been very interested in the technical content of the LCFeed project and in learning about the progress of the ongoing project.
The next visit took place in Lentini, where contact was made with Pietro Cunsolo from Pianeta Verde Bio, an innovative farmer who owns around 100 hectares of organic crops, who has previously reintroduced rice cultivation in this area and who knows first-hand the problem of burning rice straw. After the visit, he has offered to actively participate in projects such as LCFeed, based on environmental measures and rural development.
Another of the contacts that has been established has been with the company GM Fruit, dedicated to the cultivation of citrus. Where one of its managers has explained to us the methodology used and the existing problem in the Sicilian fields.
Then, the city of Modica, headquarters of the Mediterranea Mangimi Spa, was visited. The feed producer, mainly intended for poultry, uses, among other raw materials: soybean meal, beet pulp, alfalfa, beans (production from Sicily) and has shown interest in participating in the post-project phases.
There has also been an opportunity to visit Nicosia, where there are two dairy farmers (Mario and Josephine) dedicated to the dairy sector who stand out for the use of traditional methods. Both are owners of almost 450 goats of the native variety “Girgentana” that graze freely from April to September and whose milk is highly valued in the area. Their diet does not include processed feed, as they use their own mixes of barley, corn, hay and wheat peas. They explain to us that they would also like to experiment with citrus leaves, since they believe that a low protein content of feed is a way to extend the productive life of goats in addition to the environmental and quality benefits of milk.
To end the tour of Sicily, a meeting was held in Palermo within the framework of the Erasmus + CITRIVET project. Its objective is to develop, transfer and implement innovative practices that improve education and professional training studies through the transformation of citrus residues into biologically based products (essential oils, biofuels and animal feed).
This last meeting was attended by Federica Argentati, president of the Distretto Agrumi di Sicilia, which represents the main group of citrus growers in Sicily. She says that large green cooperatives have sufficient financial capacity to acquire machinery to collect leaves, separate them from chips and pelletize them, as well as having large storage spaces for drying before pelletizing. For this reason, he believes that the focus to which all efforts should be directed to make this business model work are large cooperatives since they would be able to directly sell the pellet or biomass and save the costs of pruning management.