Good Practice Project
Barycz Valley, situated at the border of Lower Silesia and Wielkopolska regions, is one of the largest inland aquaculture areas in Europe, with over 800 years tradition of fish (mainly carp) farming. It is also an area rich in natural assets, including the only Polish area within the network of Living Lakes. For over 10 years the Barycz Valley Partnership has adopted a systematic approach to the area’s development, combining three types of activities:
- an annual large-scale promotional activity, “Carp Days”, covering 11 weekends in autumn, with a rich programme of culinary, educational and recreational events, which involves around 50 partner organisations and attracts thousands of visitors;
- a certification system of local products (“Recommended by Barycz Valley” brand) which helps businesses improve their products and services and combines them into an attractive offer with a strong regional identity;
- an educational programme to raise awareness of sustainable development and climate issues, targeting children and adults, developed in cooperation with schools and training centres, and including study visits to local businesses.
In all these activities one of the key objectives is to promote and support local businesses: the Carp Days build lasting cooperation between different fish-related sectors and use original methods for maintaining customer loyalty and monitoring satisfaction (on-line survey with “prizes”, e.g. local products, for each answer). The local brand helps businesses maintain quality, access new markets and funding sources, encourages joint and cross-promotion, and provides opportunities for joint learning. The sustainable education programme gives businesses access to innovative funding sources, by supporting schools with grants that can be used for educational sessions with local businesses, helping develop consumer awareness and providing additional income.
The project helped local businesses develop an integrated offer of around 60 products and services covered by the well-established and recognised brand “Recommended by Barycz Valley”; short value chains have been developed for fish and other local products, and the season of fish sales has been significantly extended. The 2018 Carp Days included increasingly popular “fish dinners” in 14 restaurants; in total 2190 paid tickets were issued to access different activities, and nearly 2000 free tickets were distributed for non-paid activities. The online evaluation questionnaire was filled by 30% of customers, which will help to better target future activities. The customer database has grown to 1300 records (58% of which are women), 57% have attended previous Carp Days. Over 13 500 students from 56 schools have participated in educational activities. An online shop has been set up to sell teaching aids for regional and environmental education (maps, games, guides etc.).
All of these activities can be relevant for other areas where small businesses offer products or services based on a local fishing or fish farming tradition. It is important to apply them in a comprehensive way, combining promotion, online monitoring, capacity building and encouraging cooperation between businesses. The educational programme can also be replicated (with contents adapted) using the methods and tools developed by the Barycz Valley.
Lessons: The implementation of a complex event such as Carp Days is not easy and requires good will and effort of many different partners, sponsors, media etc. It has created strong demand for fish products and fishermen had to learn to ensure the supply of their fish all the year round, which took several years of working with the sector. The key to success of the local brand was promoting the whole offer rather than individual products or services. Making the process of obtaining certificates fully IT-based has saved time and resources.
|Total project cost||€153 800|
|Timeframe of implementation||From Jan 2008|
|Type of area|