High level of biological diversity, characteristic for the protected areas and their surroundings, contributes to exchange of genetic material between crops and their wild relatives, enhancing in-situ conservation.
The orientation toward local sorts, adjusted to climatic, pedologic and hydrological conditions of the climate, contributes to the protection of species agro-biodiversity. Numerous small plots under various plant cultures, separated by cultivated grassland belts, hedges, terraces and ditches, alleys and groves, form a mosaic look of the landscape and provide habitats and eco-corridors to protected plant and animal species. Taking care about these elements of biodiversity and landscape is of great importance for the whole society.
The traditional methods of land cultivation, which include conservation techniques like a crop rotation, grow of catch crops, mulching, fallows, sustainable use of meadows and pastures and recycling of inputs in combined, plant-livestock production, contribute to soil protection from degradation and increase of organic matter content. For centuries lasting experience in combining a large number of cultures, which have simultaneously or successively grown on small plots, including agro-forestry, in surrounding of wild plant populations, have ensured biological protection from plant diseases and pests, and existence and development of organisms (soil micro-organisms, predators, pollinators), which furthermore support a biomass production and increase fertility and productivity of agro-ecosystem (Louwagie, 2009: VIII-X; Altieri, 2002: 4, 8). The natural and income-based restrictions limit the application of heavy mechanization and chemical inputs in the production; therefore the traditional agriculture provides soil protection and an excellent basis for healthy-safe food production, applying the method of integral and organic production.
The preservation of the products’ and the production traditional methods’ local characteristics, which have been the base for defining, so called, specific or higher quality, can be achieved by protection of geographic origin of the product or production method (Protected Designation of Origin – PDO, Protected Geographical Indication – PGI, or Traditional Speciality Guaranteed – TSG). Such aspect of marketing strategy, based on differentiation and production for market niches, provides significantly higher market prices. The engagement concerning certification, promotion and quality control requires a chain link of business entities, which contributes to improvement of the production and assurance of income, especially when it comes to small producers. The traditional gastronomic offer, in original natural and cultural-historical surrounding, provides great possibilities for development of catering, rural tourism, handcraft and home crafts.
Relating the origin of the product for specific area, alongside with development of specific competitive advantages and promotion of the products, results in the promotion of the area itself, which significantly contribute to development of entrepreneurship, increase of employment and rural development as the whole.
Autori: Marija Nikolić, Vesna Popović