Farmer at a local market selling jams

Pilot Action A.07

Commercial incentives for private landowner cooperation

Short summary of the mechanism

This pilot action will explore market incentives for groups of farmers making a joint commitment to standards in conservation management. Pilot area demonstrations will be conducted to show how voluntarily agreed production standards can be developed locally, and then translated into commercial benefits to provide a long term incentive for conservation management.

Description/objective of the model/tool

The objective is to establish systems which offer added-value to products from an area in which farmers have made a joint commitment to conservation management.The Tool of this pilot action will be the development of marketing and branding methods, which will link a controlled logo and branding strategy to guaranteed quality standards for products and nature-friendly land management. This will deliver added value for producers making this commitment. The project is caried out in the Tarnava Mare area, which has about 25 villages in 85,000 hectares. After the pilot actions, the scheme will be spread more widely, regionally, identifying interested communities throughout High Nature Value farmland in Romania.

Implementation mechanism and process

Implementation will be by

  1. Identifying 3 farmer groups, linked to specific areas, who are motivated to develop a joint commitment, joint control system, and joint branding/marketing, on the understanding that these will lead to increased profits from sales and other local benefits.
  2. ADEPT will work with these 3 groups to identify the unique characteristics of their area, acceptable production standards and means of controlling them, and acceptable joint marketing strategy. Local is the key word: the strategy must be locally adapted and locally accepted – because it is genuinely locally developed. ADEPT will use knowledge from other project partners to assist the process.
  3. ADEPT will hold local meetings and workshops in the 3 pilot areas.
  4. ADEPT will hold an international workshop in June 2019 in order to promote results among project partners.


Thus, cooperation between producers in a defined area will be stimulated by commercial incentives, environmental benefits will be increased by scale and connectivity, and volume and credibility of high-quality natural products will be built up, linked to a branded identity for the given natural area. This result will be sustainable, since it is achieved by the market and is not dependent on continued public sector payments which have very high transactions costs, especially in landscapes dominated by small-scale holdings. It is precisely such landscapes that are linked to High Nature Value farming.

Method/legal basis

We aim to achieve this through a bottom-up approach, in which group certification schemes can be developed locally, suiting local conditions, and without cost to the farmers in order to ease access for smallholders to the natural food market. The project will explore specially the use of Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS).

We will develop the pilots in a High Nature Value farming area, Tarnava Mare, central Romania. Through the project we will make producers aware of the importance of ecosystem values, which add quality to products coming from this area. The key is to establish a link between the landscape and food quality in the minds of consumers.  The legal basis will be a process of certification and branding, with registration of the brand.

Stakeholders involved

Small scale farming communities, farmers and farmer associations, producers, intermediaries such as guest houses/restaurants in the area, and finally consumers.


Project started in June 2017. During 2017 we have identified/confirmed the three pilot areas, have had meeting with farmer associations, and had discussions with branding and certifciation specialists and with retailers. We have set the stage for implementation, since we now have assessed the producer willingness, certification methodolgies, and market interest.

Starting February 2018 we will begin workshops in the pilot areas, to develop local and unique certifciation standards and marketing strategies.


Is the tool/model already being applied in another region? If so, where? How? Since when?

This locally-based model of development of standards, control and marketing has not been carried out in Romania. It is very suited to the High Nature Value farmland areas of Romania, characterised by strong local character, and small-scale farmers who must work together to survive in today’s commercial environment.  

How much land is already conserved by the tool/model?

None yet – by 2019, will be 5,000 – 10,000 ha.

Fundatia ADEPT Logo
Project partner responsible for its implementation

Fundatia ADEPT
Information Centre
Str. Principala nr. 166
Saschiz, Mures 547510