The Rural Development Association of Harghita County organised its annual evaluation with a field trip at Cârța on the 21st of December 2022. The event also included a workshop based on the objectives of the FRiDGE project where the aspects of the milk product chain were discussed.

The Rural Development Association of Harghita County plays an important role in the implementation of the FRiDGE project, which supports the development of competitiveness of food producing SMEs. Mr Csongor László, director of the association, explained that the FRiDGE project could bring important progress for the development of Harghita County. The Association sets objectives for different product chains (milk, potatoes) to facilitate the development of farmers and their access to different resources.

The meeting organized in Cârța also aimed to offer a basic direction for cheese producers which could be useful in the future with two additional events to follow. Association will actively cooperate with farmers to find markets that would be difficult to find individually. Director László stated also, that at the same time the farmers have to be able to produce on a standard quality and quantity which could be commercialized in the future.

In accordance with the objectives of FRiDGE, the cooperating partners should focus on promoting and sharing of good practices and experiences. Development based on knowledge should also be highlighted. The director considers that this kind of workshops are essential to disseminate the objectives and results of FRiDGE. With different product chain models and providing different opportunities to farmers, they will have easier access to development activities and knowledge. Knowledge transfer is in the heart of FRiDGE and it helps farmers to develop their own farms in oractise, summarized Mr László.

Mr Csaba Borboly, president of Harghita County Council, explained that although in Harghita County there are no livestock farms with thousands hectares and thousand animals, there are many small farms that can produce healthy food, close to nature. The main challenge is to ensure that farmers receive personalized and useful information through the Rural Development Association of Harghita County. And not only those, who are currently working, but also those, who return home from abroad and want to become farmers - no matter if they are young or more experienced.

President Borboly stated also, that in this regard the institutional system should be designed to provide help and safety. The county council pays attention to this and tries to create possibilities and launch project calls. The most important thing is good knowledge, to overcome bureaucracy, and last but not least get help to access the market.