WaterProtect take a field trip in Val Tidone Action Lab

The Val Tidone winemaking reality was at the centre of the field visit of the WaterProtect Consortium in the Italian Action lab. In the misty morning of Sunday, November 11th, the project partners from the 7 countries involved in the project visited the vineyards and cellars of Val Tidone.

The first stop was at the vineyard with cellar Primogenita of Montecucco (Ziano Piacentino), a small farm which is undertaking the process of conversion from the traditional to the organic cultivation system. The owner Stefano Michelotti explained the management of fertilization and the use of plant protection products during such a process. He also explained which mitigation action he undertakes to avoid water and environment contamination.

The next stop on the fieldtrip was a visit to the Social Cellar Vicobarone, where the vice-president Maurizio Centenari together with Professor Ettore Capri (Unicatt) presented the process of Sustainability Certification that the cellar is undergoing.  
During the lunch time the consortium participated at the Italian farmer’s union Coldiretti Thanksgiving Day celebration in Ziano Piacentino.
For the first time in 17 years Coldiretti decided to organize the Thanksgiving day ceremony in Ziano Piacentino in collaboration with the Italian partners of WaterProtect and the Municipality of Ziano Piacentino in order to highlight the importance of such a project for the community and to express the local commitment for a clean environment and support of WaterProtect Project. After that the group took the bus to Mossi 1558 in Albareto (Ziano Piacentino), one of the most antique vineyard in Italy.  During the visit the owners Marco Profumo and Silvia Mandini explained the history of the cellar, the investments and management process during the years and them commitment for a sustainable wine production and clean environment. Furthermore, at the same location, Ruggero Colla – technician of Provincial Phytosanitary Consortium present the valley from a technical point of view:  topography, cultivation, territorial problems, contamination perception, etc.

Workshop and stakeholder meeting in Val Tidone

Quality and management of water resources in agricultural areas: a workhop and stakeholder meeting held at the Residence Gasparini of the Catholic University of Piacenza and which explored several points going from the international context to the concrete problems of the Italian Action Lab, Tidone Valley in Province of Piacenza, North of Italy.

During the morning session, opened by the Dean of the Agricultural Faculty of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Professor Marco Trevisan, and chaired by researcher Nicoleta Suciu, the situation of the territory of Tidone Valley was compared to the one of the basin of Bollaertbeek in Belgium (industrial crops) and to that of the Action lab lower Llobregat near Barcelona (fruit-growing).
The comparative analysis  revealed the peculiarities of the hilly territory in Val Tidone and also the specific pedological differences between the valleys.

Crucial was the discussion that occurred during the round table in the afternoon, which focused an increasingly avant-garde topic: the sensitive relationship between water and agriculture. The excellence of this moment of comparison - entitled "Quality and management of water resources in agricultural areas" and coordinated by the journalist Donatello Sandroni - has been widely recognized as having connected all the actors involved in the water management. From the interventions has certainly emerged on the one hand the awareness that agriculture plays a fundamental role in the management of the water resource and in the safeguarding of its quality and on the other hand, the difficult situation of the agricultural sector, which sees itself invested in a role of protection of this resource, but the market is not able to recognize the necessary commitment (and the consequent costs) in terms of profitability.

Stakeholder’s interventions:

The territory
"Val Tidone believes in the sustainable management of resources because this is the starting point in order to have high quality products. Our growth prospect and disablishment lies precisely in the binomial respect of the environment-quality."
Manuel Ghilardelli, mayor of Ziano

"There are European regulations that must be declined on the territories, based on the interpretation given by the National Authorities. In this context a project like Waterprotect can be useful and the results of this work - also valuable as an opportunity for informing and training to the farmers - can also be translated into political objectives."
Elena Murelli - Parliament's European Political Commission

"Farmers are entrepreneurs who work with production means on which social sensitivity is very high. Unfortunately, agricultural entrepreneurs are alone in dealing with emerging issues and so related in terms of animal welfare and environmental protection: the increasingly competitive market does not recognize the work of farmers who are well aware of what they produce and how they do it. We need common rules with a check system that applies to everyone."
Filippo Gasparini - Confagricoltura Piacenza
Franco Boeri - Cia Piacenza
Giovanni Luigi Cremonesi - Coldiretti Piacenza

"The territorial reality of Val Tidone is very diversified. In some areas, especially in the upper part of the valley, there is a real problem of water scarcity, causing serious problems in certain periods. Nevertheless, in some areas of the valley the water quality is not good."
Eugenio Bertolini

Provincial Phytosanitary Consortium of Piacenza
"The management of plant protection products is entrusted to specific rules that also include the participation of farmers in training courses. Regarding the type of plant protection products, however, it should not be underestimated that nowadays molecules are allowed above all to be used in integrated agriculture: a very sustainable production system in which Emilia Romagna and the province of Piacenza, in particular, are leaders."
Matteo Cattivelli - president of the Provincial Phytosanitary Consortium
Bruno Chiusa - Director
Ruggero Colla - technician

AUSL - Department of Public Health
"Training remains a central issue, but one of the problems is indeed the heaviness of the training module, which  impacts the attendance  of farmers as we have an aged famers population in this area. We would need more agile training models and a greater possibility to decline training compared to the concrete needs of companies. In this sense, the project is important because it fits perfectly with European policies."
Marco Delledonne
Francesca Sormani

Reclamation Consortium
"We find ourselves in very difficult situations, with anomalous climatic trends for which the rains are concentrated in very short periods, which force us to conserve water. A practice that does not cause any kind of negative impact on the territory. We have dedicated very important investments in these water storage facilities."
Fausto Zermani - president

Consorzio vini doc - Colli Piacentini
"We need an institution to delegate the management of the water system throughout the territory that also acts as a leader among the users of the resource. This is a need that has become essential, since the provincial administrations doesn’t have this role anymore. Moreover, many hilly areas are still poorly equipped with adequate infrastructure."
Pinuccio Sidoli - president

 Cantina di Vicobarone
"Commitment for a sustainable production is mandatory for enhancing the work of our winemakers, contributing stakeholders. Measures must be taken so that the market can reward farmers' commitment."
Maurizio Centenari - vice president of the Vicobarone Social Cellar