Timișoara

 

Introduction

 

West Regional Development Agency (West RDA) – is an NGO established in 1999 that implements regional development policy, manages European-funded programs, provides business support services to companies in the region and promotes innovation. It is the Intermediate Body for the Regional Operational Program 2014-2020 in the West Region and Managing Authority for the ROP 2021-2027.

The West Region Romania is situated in the Western part of the country, bordering both Hungary and Serbia. The region is made up of four counties, and includes a total of 42 cities (62% urban), with a total area of 32,034 km2.  With a population of 1,998,689 inhabitants, the employment rate is currently 72.3% and there are more than 53,000 different companies are active in region from a wide range of sectors.

 

Smart specialisation sectors

 

The West Region has a strong tradition in agriculture, starting from basic activities related to land cultivation, food processing and animal husbandry as well as innovation in agriculture, with two state universities specialised in agricultural sciences.

The agri-food sector is one of the most successful sectors in the region. It has an annual turnover of over €1.8 billion and provides almost 30,000 jobs in the region as of 2018. Despite its potential and tradition, Romania is still a net importer of processed agricultural products.  Current food loss and waste prevention measures that are deployed within the region are: Pay-As-You-Throw schemes, five waste fractions collection systems and regional food banks.

 

Vision for the future

 

Within FOODRUS project, West RDA aims to promote all the knowledge and good practices to the agri-food sector, in order to support the development of sustainable business models, with impact for the community. As a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network, West RDA will focus on the specific needs of regional SMEs, as primary influencer and knowledge adopters within the food chains. Innovation in agri-food sector is crucial for increasing the competitiveness and performance of farms, so West RDA will also focus on actively promoting and facilitating the adoption of new sustainable technologies that will increase the quality and encourage the adoption of a ‘farm-to-fork’ approach.

West RDA particularly aims to support the development of the processing sector by applying a sustainable policy mix, to transition from traditional towards a value creating supplier in national and international markets.

 

Food Waste

 

Currently West RDA is already involved in the following food waste prevention initiatives:

Ro-Boost SMEs Consortium” – Boosting Smart and Innovation-Driven Growth for Romanian SMEs

West Region’s one-stop-shop on internationalization and innovation, funded by the European Commission through the COSME Program. The overall objective of the “Ro-Boost SMEs Consortium” is to develop a support structure for SMEs in 2 development regions, South-West and West, through which it aims to provide an integrated set of information, support and advice services to help SMEs exploit European business development opportunities.

NICHE – Building Innovative Food Value Chains in Regions

The Regional Development Agency of West Region Romania was the project coordinator of NICHE, an InterregEurope Flagship project. It was ranked 3rd out of 250 applications by Interreg Europe, being top 3 most visible project throughout its implementation (1st of April 2016 – 31st of March 2020). The purpose was to improve existing policies to increase adoption of research and innovation solutions by food SMEs in the regions. Players of the food sector from 7 EU countries joined a knowledge exchange and networking experience, where successful food policies and practices have been showcased, together with their regions and their transferability potential for (re)designing food policies.

Arome Proprii – NICHE Pilot Action in West Region Romania

A unique free marketing tool for small food producers in West Region, including a marketing platform for local food products providing the possibility to create virtual spaces to promote them towards HoReCa, processors and final consumers (almost 30 producers) and an interactive map for identifying the food producers in Western Region, based on the products’ categories and the geographical area, with complete information on their traceability.