Within the scope of this project, a set of incentives were created to enhance the value of the shepherds themselves, with the creation of the shepherds’ school and the cheesemakers’ school, to enhance the art and ingenuity associated with cheese production”, announced Inovcluster’s president, Cláudia Domingues Soares.
The head of this organization was speaking at the public presentation, in Mangualde, Viseu district, of the project for the enhancement of the cheese industry in the Center region, which includes three cheeses of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): Serra da Estrela, Beira Baixa and Rabaçal.
In the ceremony, attended by the Secretary of State for Development and Cohesion, Nelson de Souza, and the president of the Coordination and Regional Development Commission of the Center (CCDR Center), Ana Abrunhosa, and the mayor of Mangualde, João Azevedo, the responsible also said that land banks will be created.
“The issue of land, because access to land is something difficult today and, therefore, these land banks are, in essence, one more tool in the scope of this project that is available to all those who want to use it,” she explained.
Cláudia Domingues Soares, who leads the organization that “has the role of aggregator and consolidator of the 15 partners involved”, including intermunicipal communities, universities and associations in the sector, also said that the cheese “is valued, it has a way to go around its positioning”.
Of the almost 2.3 million euros, 75% is funded by the Centro 2020 program, but “only when the implementation of this project ends, within two years, it is possible to measure results”, because, he explained, “one of the major impacts of the project is the private investment that this project will induce, with this public funding,” which the Secretary of State admitted is small. Small in size and, now I can say because it is already approved, for the resources it involves, because if I said it before the promoters would naturally want a larger share of funding, but mostly symbolic because in fact it interprets well what we want Portugal 2020 to support, “said Nelson de Souza.
The governor stressed the “importance of networking”, a work “less and less frequent and, therefore, should be emphasized and cherished,” he added, stressing that “today it is not enough to have the competitive advantage, you need management, intelligence and creativity to make a difference”.
The president of CCDR Centro highlighted that “it is possible, while respecting the tradition and identity, incorporate knowledge, innovation in traditional activities without losing what is the identity” of the product.”
Ana Abrunhosa also highlighted that the “program is very pragmatic” and this can be confirmed in the “estimated results that are not very ambitious, are realistic, because they were built with great realism, taking into account the difficulties to be found on the ground” and, in this sense, said she hoped it would be possible to “double these results.
“Under the seal of the cheeses of Portugal we intend to make joint promotion, naturally respecting the identity of each brand, the identity of the Serra da Estrela cheese that was elected one of the wonders of Portuguese gastronomy and, therefore, we also want to spread this notoriety to the Rabaçal cheese and the Beira Baixa cheese,” he wished.
in Diário de Noticias, December 20, 2018