Methodology for the Elaboration of Sectorial Studies for Territorial Capital by Synergy of the Sequential Components based on Eco-Bio-Economy with a View to Form the Rural Web Network of Zoogenetic Biodiversity in the Banat Region

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Author: Matiuti Marcel, MSc, PhD, Banat’s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine from Timisoara, matiutimarcel@yahoo.com

Editor’s Note: The paper accepted for presentation at the 23. International Scientific Conference „Danube – River of Cooperation”

Introduction

Eco-Bio-Economy may be considered an attempt for a new eco-economic and bio-economic vision, which reunites in an integrated pattern: the economy, the ecology, the biodiversity, the eco-economy and the bio-economy focusing the integrated smart sustainable development of the world. To this valuable areas, the Eco-Bio-Economy may address possible Eco-Bio-Policies and Eco-Bio-Strategies and allows the contribution of the social economy, of excellence and of the “all in one quality”, of the welfare economy, of solidarity, social corporate responsibility, as elements which may be utilized in an integrated practical future platform in a multipolar world for a healthy and ecological environment, to ensure and to promote a smart, creative, innovative, economic sustainable development. Transnational projects can also be included in the strategy for development in Banat because these projects represent a possible way of developing the Danube area.

The use of the decisions-making process at the highest level and the modern diplomatic tools are the expected and needed catalytic agent for a global eco-bio-policy and eco-bio-economic successful equation (A. T. Bogdan et all, 2012).

The territorial capital represents the totality of bio-resources, economic resources, industrial resources– including manufacturing, of commerce, environmental, water and fields, cultural, social, human, knowledge or symbolic values) in a delimited space (Ploeg J. D., Dijk G., 1995). Territorial capital has many components: economic capital, human capital, institutional capital, touristic capital, cultural capital, symbolic capital. The 1999 European Project entitled LEADER Community Initiative makes use of the term “territorial capital”. “Territorial development” as a term appeared in a 1987 ONU document entitled The Brundtland Report which explains that economic development represents a social sphere, an environmental one, which includes the politic side, thus becoming a warrant of balance between these components (Berti G., 2008).

In year 2003 Marsden T. presented the idea of sustainable rural development as acknowledgement of the territorial dimension, this being a new concept presented at the first European Conference on Rural Development in 1996: “Territorialy – based development that redefines nature by re-emphasizing food production and agro-ecology and that re-asserts the socio-environmental role of agriculture as a major agent in sustaining rural economies and cultures”.

A brief justification

The study of this methodology for a rural web is done for the Banat region, whose particularities define it as a proper and unique area in Romania. Banat is a multicultural, multi-ethnic and geographically diverse territory, situated in the West of Romania, occupying 24000 square km and having a population of approx. 1500000 inhabitants (in 2011). The fertile land, the geographical features and the numerous rivers (especially the Danube) made it possible for Banat to develop economically, in fields such as agriculture, sylvan culture, mine exploitation, industries, trans-European commerce.

The economy in Banat developed especially due to the existent bio-resources and the use of them, thus the rural community started an eco-bio-economy. Due to this type of economy, Banat was the most powerful economic region in Romania from 1920 to 1990. The general economic collapse in Romania in 1990, the population dislocations started in 1975, the decrease of the population especially because of the fact that qualified personnel was leaving the country, the new lifestyles instilled which were different from the one in Banat, all these led to economic stagnation in this region and the acute degradation of the Banat lifestyle and social behaviour.

Over the course of time Banat did not have a uniform economic development in the rural areas, and after 1990 the regress was more and more accentuated by the lack of economic and social politics for this region and by the frequent instability of the governmental institutions due to the political disputes. Changes in rural areas appeared, such as total or partial depopulation of certain villages (such as in the Secas area or the Mountainous Banat). The modifications in population in the rural area led to animal zoo-genetic erosion. The new inhabitants of the villages did not feel tied to the local animal breeds not interested in the various types of vegetables or trees, because these were not a part of their culture and traditions. The rich pastures of Banat made possible for the previous inhabitants to raise a large number of animals and even to create new breeds. For them, raising animals meant that they were investing in something that gave them profit, that they had a certain social rank, a lifestyle and culture. The animals were also part of a girl’s dowry. Regardless of the religious cult they belonged to, the villagers used to schedule their raising of animals according to the religious calendar, so that they knew when the animals had to be taken out of the sheds and led to pastures in order for them to graze, when the herds came back from the mountains, when the animals had to be given for reproduction, etc. Eco-bio-economy represents the basis for economic development because the animal or plant products were used for local industry development or the basis for some industrial branches in the city.

Without a strategy for economic development, the rural areas in Banat will stagnate, since agriculture is the centre of rural eco-bio-economy.

The foundation of a rural web demands that the territorial capital of Banat be known

The livestock animal is a part of territorial capital and represent the agricultural capital. In the methodology one has to highlight the role of the livestock in the development of the rural areas. In 2011, Banat had 828000 pigs, thus surpassing Bulgaria (729000) and Slovenia (425700); 2720000 sheep, surpassing Austria (412900), Lithuania (67200), Poland (342800) and Slovenia (412700). Nevertheless, 70% of the pork meat in Banat comes from import, and the animal products industry is represented by 65% by the big transnational companies. Although the number of cattle decreased by 60% since 1990 and that of pigs by 25%, the still large number of animals proves that there is still a good environmental capital (soil, water, flora, rich pastures – 508929 ha, biodiversity) and that animal husbandry biodiversity can still be maintained. In the 21st century the animal genetics industry is thoroughly developed but there are only some big transnational companies which dominate the sectors of cattle, pigs, poultry and fish. The development of industry of animal genetics in Banat is possible through the existence of the newly founded research labs, where young researchers work. The zoogenetics biodiversity in Banat consists of a large number of breeds of domestic animals, native and modern, local and cross-border: 7 to cattle, 6 to horses, 8 to sheep, 2 to goats, 7 to swine, 10 to poultries. Some existing breeds are officially declared extinct by the mid 20th century (the Mountains Cattle, Draft Horse of Banat, White Pig of Banat), others are unknown (Pustertaler of Transylvania, The Schwabisch-Hallisches) or ignored by state institutions (the White Goose of Banat, Hermine Hens of Bontida). In this industry the local breeds can prove their value once again due to the fact that they have genes which cannot be found in other animals and features such as high resistance to diseases (leucosis, tuberculosis), features which they had inherited from local native breeds. The local breeds can successfully develop a niche market, since there is a great demand for products made after traditional recipes or from a certain areas or even for people who suffer from modern diseases such as allergies, diabetes, obesity, intolerance to various products. Products from local breeds can be processed using traditional methods. They are the base for some extraordinary finite products in Banat. Breeders should be informed about the advantages and disadvantages of a niche market. In Romania there is also the opportunity of organic farming development, where animals of local breeds can be raised. The health and quality standard of the animal products has to be in line with the consumers’ needs not with the needs of transnational companies.

We have to mention that there is a rich game biodiversity and some species of game can only be found here, having long disappeared from Western Europe. The game in Banat attracts many tourists. There are also farms for certain types of game. The forest fund is of approx. 500000 ha: 5% large leaf tree, 45% birch, 30% oak, 10% hardwood, 10% resinous. To these, many species of small trees are added: blackthorn, hazelnut tree, eglantine, etc. In 2011 the game consisted of various types of deer, wild boars, rabbits, pheasants, black goats, bears, wild cats, wolves, foxes, etc.

Banat has a very limited number of qualified personnel for performant agriculture or for the development of an industry for animal and plant products. For this reason the rural network will be trained web who wish to acquire knowledge about animal husbandry. By web rural network is done Synergy between modern and traditional rural economy through sequential components based on eco-bio-economy. This agricultural capital comprises the traditional knowledge of the various communities regarding the relationship between man-animal-environment, that is ethnozootechny. Just as the secret for some for recipe animal products is well kept, the treatment for various affections in animals has also been kept secret by the rural communities, thus forming the veterinary ethnomedicine. Schools and universities specialised in these domains ensure the knowledge for the students, but there are some deficiencies in the curricula, especially regarding the practice for these students which is not enough. The university graduates are not sufficiently well trained in order to face the reality on the field, which is very different from the courses. Therefore the majority of them are very confused.

In Banat there have always been many nationalities living harmoniously together. During the last 20 years one can notice a regress in what human relations from villages are concerned especially since many people from other regions of Romania have come here to settle. This social or relational capital affects the good atmosphere necessary for a sustainable rural development. The same goes for the relations with the new landowners abroad, which do not exploit their terrains, but sees them only as an invested capital.

The tourist capital is represented by resorts such as Buzias, Lipova, Herculane (the last of which used to be considered the most beautiful resort of its type in Europe), by patrimony buildings, cultural institutions, museums, theatres (the one in Timisoara there are theatres performing in three languages: Romanian, Hungarian and German; the theatre in Oravita is the oldest theatre in Romania), parks, the centre of Timisoara which resembles architecturally the centre of Vienna and Budapest, towns such as Arad and Lugoj which can be easily compared architecturally with any other town in Central Europe, the protected regions of flora and fauna (such as the Ornithological Reservation from Satchinez). This capital is completed by the local animal breeds. At Izvin stud farm there are breeds such as Nonius and Ardenez, both of Banat type. There are some traditional products as well, made from the meat or milk of the local breeds and develops in this way agriculturist. In many cases, rural pensions keep local animals: Transylvanian Pinzgau, the Curly Sheep of Banat, the White Goat of Banat. The manufacturer industry for wool, skin and silk is only history today in Banat. Lugoj used to be a symbol for tanners, leather coats and silk. This industry should revive with the present opportunities.

The institutional capital of Banat is represented by the local institutions for agricultural development and especially by the newly found Agricultural Chamber, whose role is still not quite clear. The politics of the institutions of the state in what concerns structural adjustments, land/water/veterinary service privatization have had a negative impact upon the rural communities, especially since the Romanian state does not have any pilot farm for animal breeding in Banat. To these we can add the politics to destroy the local markets by dumping and forcing the farmers to produce nourishment based on the industrial model, the majority of which will be exported or used as bio-fuel. The relationship between the local, rural authorities and central ones should be rethought especially taking into consideration the taxes that these communities pay to the state.

All these types of capital forming the territorial capital of Banat have a symbolic representation as well, meaning a symbolic capital based on accumulated collective knowledge regarding biodiversity, cultural diversity and Banat traditions. The symbolic eco-bio-economic capital of Banat is made up of various traditional products which represent a brand: Banat ham, smoked lard, various types of cheese, Pecica bread, Banat slibovita, different types of fruits and vegetables. This chapter includes the traditional rural architecture, the different styles of the peasants’ households, traditional costumes and folk music. In order to develop a strategy for profitably using the territorial capital based on bio-eco-economy (which would trigger a raise in Banat’s economic competitiveness by sustainable rural development and the elaboration of a route for the strategy implementation) it is necessary to create a network of rural web. Through this network research can be done about the territorial capital of the region and thus projects of eco-bio-economy can be elaborated, representing in fact the strategy for rural development based on territorial capital in Banat. One of the models for a rural web implementation is the project coordinated by the Rural Sociology Section in the Social Sciences Department of Wageningen University, called ETUDE, ”Eularging the theoretical understanding of rural development”. A good model for rural development is the European Project Leader from Nograd, a region in northern Hungary, conceived and coordinated by an exceptional manager, prof Ph. D. Pal Hajas. Web rural network should support the establishment of associations or cooperatives for raising economic competitiveness. Sustainable rural development be designed in such.

The cooperatives that should be founded in Romania should take as a model the ones in the Kozard region (Nograd, Hungary), which was founded through the efforts of prof. Ph.D. Pal Hajas. The fruits are processed into dry fruits, gem, jelly, juice, palinka, etc. in their own processing unity. There is a Mangalita pig farm and the meat is processed in a unity of this association, and so is the milk coming from the sheep on the farm. There is also a chocolate unit and another one for honey processing. Within this cooperative the so-called „tourism villages” have been organized where manufacturing industry is supported. These „villages”are visited by a large number of tourists from all over the world who can see first hand the traditional lifestyle of the rural population in Nograd, together with their delicious traditional meals, their music and culture. There is also a park, which is like an open air museum and a Didactic farm for young people who do not necessarily want to work in agriculture but simply have a passion for it, for the animals and their breeding. But this regional development plan is hard to implement in Banat, if not entirely impossible, because the politic interests are more powerful here.

The implementation of a rural web network for animal biodiversity would be more efficient in a common project with Serbia and Hungary for the Banat area, because there regions share many similarities in their rural areas.

By the rural web network the data for the analysis of territorial capital will be exactly established, as well as an analysis methodology, for example a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesser, Opportunities, Threacts)(Berti G., 2008). Web network mapping will help rural areas for rural Banat region. All these rural area is part of the territorial capital.

When describing a rural area one will have to take into consideration many aspects: position, the distance to the main towns or cities, the component villages, the distances between these villages, the link with the exterior, the population divided on genders and villages, the total area for agriculture, the forest fund, the means of organization, the structure of the cultivated land, the number of species and breeds, the industrial activities carried out in the area, the service for the population, the commercial network, the tourist sights, the various institutions (educational, health care, cultural), the local funds, ways to preserve the local breeds, traditional local products, traditional local culture, etc.

One has to think about the situation of the various rural settlements, since some of these can easily become leisure places for people in towns and cities and where agriculture is being practiced according to the family’s needs. There are numerous companies in some villages which have their general headquarters there in order not to pay taxes in the city. In the suburban villages agriculture is basically lost and the fields are used for buildings (in Dumbravita, Giroc, Ghiroda).

The biggest problem remains the villages in Banat is a significant percentage of people without knowledge of agriculture and in general they live off of government or EU help. Economical development is intimately linked to taking immediate measures in order to ensure the security of private properties because the land workers have claimed this issue as being their biggest one.

Banat was renowned for the hydro amelioration works carried out in the 18th century and now in the 21st century there isn’t one acre professionally irrigated, but everything is left to the mercy of nature. Until the mid-20th century on Bega Channel from Timisoara Otelec could see convoys of barges pulled by tugboats. In 2012 for this transport the Channel is impracticable.

Conclusions

Transnational projects can also be included in the strategy for development in Banat because these projects represent a possible way of developing the Danube area. Economic development could be quantified by building roads and airports in order to facilitate commerce from the Danube to the Adriatic Sea (this would be a re-enactment of some old commercial lines which brought prosperity to the region until the 18th century). In Banat approx. 60% of the agricultural area is deserted because the management of the state institutions ignore this reality (or even promote it). This is because the leaders have been propelled in their functions only on political criteria, not professional ones, in the state institutions as well as in some scientific research centres. Since 1990 there hasn’t been one coherent agricultural policy because of the lack of an official strategy for the development of sustainable agriculture and rural development.

It is because of this that the implementation of rural web networking is highly necessary. By the web area recovery materializes Plan territorial capital of the Banat region. Is done as cohesion and social inclusion in a concept that is based on the territorial capital to seize in the Banat region by all eco-bio-economy. Projects can be implemented with rural web networking, such as:

  • Regional system for early warning regarding the genetic animal resources in Banat
  • Regional animal germplasm
  • A pilot centre for research on the major risks of the oncogene factors which affect the food safety, cause cancer in animals and humans, affect the environment, the biodiversity and bio-eco-economy in Banat.
  • A pilot centre for Defense Food.

 

References

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Berti G., 2008 – Identification and selection of the regional case studies, Report, ETUDE Project, Work Packages

Bogdan T. Alexandru (coord), Ipate Iudith, Toba G. F., Ivana Simona, Matiuti M., Diaconescu D., 2012 – Biodiversity of farm animals and Eco-bio-economics significaces in the food security context, The Publishing House of Romanian Academy, Bucharest

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