The SCALA-MEDI Kick-off meeting took place online (due to the pandemic situation) on September 7th, 2021, with the participation of all project partners and the Project Officer. It was an opportunity to introduce all the institutions and staff. Each Activity Leader presented the aims and objectives of the Action towards the common goal of optimising the sustainable use and conservation of local genetic resources from the Mediterranean region, focusing on adaptation to climatic conditions and consumer preferences.
SCALA-MEDI will contribute to the impacts expected in the PRIMA call 2020, under the Topic 1.2.1 Sub-topic A. The expertise and data from previous EU projects will be extended to the genetic and epigenetic characterisation of local resources and their adaptation to different production environments in three North African countries, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Tools and strategies will be developed to improve local breeds for sustainable production. Application of these tools will be demonstrated to farmers in diverse Mediterranean production systems.
The application of the SCALA-MEDI strategies for breeding will increase the overall profitability of farming systems by developing adapted populations that can use local resources more efficiently and require lower inputs to survive harsh environments. Knowledge of breed adaptation will increase the value of some of the local breeds/populations. Climate change is a major risk for food security in Northern Africa. The improved resilience of sheep and chicken farming stemming from the SCALA-MEDI project will increase food security by ensuring sustainable production of local eggs, meat, and milk. Establishing reliability in supply will ensure fair market prices for both producers and consumers, increasing accessibility to the high-quality protein that is fundamental for a balanced diet and enhanced human health.