DIVA network - Support scheme for agricultural and agri-rural project sponsors
Topic of the practice
Combatting the rural exodus, attracting new population and supporting innovative agricultural and agri-rural projects
Good Practice Information
The “DIVA” network is a good practice on setting up a regional network to assist innovative agricultural and agri-rural project requests. The Limousin Regional Council started the network in 2008, manages it and provides financial assistance. The network brings together some thirty partners from the field of agricultural and rural development. In 2008 58 projects were supported, in 2009 75 projects were supported.
The purpose of the network is to promote the attractivity of the rural territories, the long-term viability of farms, the value of local resources through: 1) assisting the integration and the installation of new farmers and new residents in rural areas; 2) encouraging and promoting local initiatives, employment, the creation or development of agricultural and agri-rural activities; 3) promoting the long term viability of farms that may be multi-functional or seeking to diversify, and 4) supporting the emergence of new agri-rural projects based on local resources (agro-climatic, ecological, human, geographic, etc.).
The organisations involved in the DIVA Network are 'pooling' their expertise and experience. They offer their services and combine their knowledge for the benefit of the project applicants. Where one of the member organisations is chosen to provide a service of support to a project sponsor, a three-party agreement is concluded between the Limousin Region, the project applicant and the supporting organisation.
The DIVA network actively seeks to offer opportunities to its own members, like training technicians and organising thematic forums (e.g. vegetable growing). A strong feature of the network is that the method of working favours pooling and networking by the member organisations of the network rather than each monopolising a particular theme or target group.
A lesson learnt is that constant vigilance is necessary to ensure that the process of pooling and networking is maintained between the member organisations of the DIVA network. At technical level, an officer has been appointed to set-up the scheme and is currently overseeing and organising the network. This involves, in particular, using an extranet to liaise with the network's member organisations and to identify all the project sponsors concerned by the DIVA network.
Evidence of success
The partners of the Diva network set themselves the target of supporting 50 projects per year, but this target has been greatly exceeded. In 2008, 58 projects were assisted, and a further 75 in 2009. Overall, one third of the project applicants are farmers wishing to diversify, one third are people changing occupations or with dual occupations and one third are job seekers or people on minimum allowances wishing to create their own activity. Their average age is between 35 and 45 years old. The majority of projects supported are seeking to set up an agricultural activity or develop a pluriactivity. Many of the supported projects concern fruit and vegetable production (bio vegetables, fruit) and incorporate a direct sales segment. Farm guest house activities are also well represented.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Conseil Régional du Limousin
Annex completed on: 12-21-2011