On 16 and 17 December 2019, the Department of Agriculture University of Ioannina, being the Lead Partner, held the kick-off meeting of the project “CheeseCulT – Cheese route as an innovative cultural heritage driving force for rural tourism development in the cross-border area”, which is co-funded by the Interreg IPA II Greece-Albania Programme 2014-2020, through European Union and National Funds of Greece and Albania. CheeseCulT is designed to capitalize the CB area’s agri-food focus on dairy production, and incorporate it to local sustainable tourism on a viable development plan for the regions involved.
On the Kick-off meeting, all partners’ organisations participated; apart from the LB (Department of Agriculture, University of Ioannina), the “Hellenic Agricultural Organization – Demeter: Dairy School of Ioannina”, as well as the two Albanian partners, the University “Eqrem Çabej” Gjirokastër and the ARGJIRO attended the meeting.
Several topics were discussed during the meeting. Apart from organizational aspects of the project, that will end in November 2021, partners also planned and prepared detailed framework of activities of the strategic partnership and agreed on common goals and results with respect to the creation of the Cheese route at CB area. In the next few months, several results from the first stages of the project will be published. Namely, the results from the diagnosis studies of Primary Sector Value Chains in Greek-Albanian CB area will be presented, leading to the design/ mapping of a joint Cheese Route.
Although there were only few days and many topics to discuss, all partners came back with new ideas and motivation, hoping to keep up with such a good work within the project duration.
The Interreg IPA CBC Programme “Greece – Albania 2014 – 2020” supports the cooperation between the two countries. Under a common fund, the two countries join forces and capitalize on the advantages of the cross-border region to achieve benefits for both countries.