MIKOGEST: innovative management of mycological resources

The MIKOGEST operational group, focused on the management of mycological resource regulation, meets to address the application of information and communication technologies and Big Data analysis systems.

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Photo: Micocyl

The MIKOGEST operational group works to manage the mycological resource regulation by means of innovative techniques (ICT tools), ensuring sustainability in the use of the resource, value chain traceability and providing useful information to the harvester and business sector. This objective is to be achieved by developing a Big Data analysis system that provides the necessary information to guarantee the sustainability of the producing habitats.

Nowadays, there is a great demand for consumption of wild mushrooms, both internally and externally, which is favouring the commercialisation of this product. There are many companies located in the main producing areas in Spain and new ones are being established, contributing through employment in disadvantaged rural areas and having a positive impact on traditionally depopulated areas.

This promising sector is paradoxically faced with the fact that there is a shortage of these food products due to inefficient management of information and resources. Additionally, the majority of the harvesters carry out this activity without any kind of professionalisation or basic knowledge for the development of the activity, which in many cases leads to a lack of traceability and product healthiness.

For this reason, the MIKOGEST operational group will be working over the next two years on the development of a Big Data analysis system that will provide the necessary information to ensure the sustainability of both the activity and the resources habitats, offering precise knowledge of the production capacity of these ecosystems in real time (through estimates of production at each place and time), and also processing specific parameters of the demand, marketing and resource exploitation.

Similarly, ICTs will also play a key role in establishing communication and information transmission channels with the agents involved in the sector (harvesters, consumers, marketers or processors, owners of producing habitats and administrations involved).

Photo: MIKOGEST project

Mycological use regulation

Some regional administrations are addressing the regulation of the sector, incorporating regulations on mycological exploitation and establishing criteria that will condition the activity of harvesting and marketing of wild mushrooms.

“The use of the resource requires a dynamic and effective management of harvesting regulation systems, which allows all owners of forests or producing lands to develop a sustainable and efficient activity that provides maximum added value”, says Patricia Gómez Agrela, manager of the Confederation of Spanish Forestry Organisations (COSE), one of MIKOGEST partners.

“Understanding the production capacity of the habitats in real time (sustainability), through estimates of production in each place and time, as well as precise parameters of demand, marketing and exploitation of the resource are some of the results sought in this project”, adds Olga González Raposo, manager of the Federation of Forestry Associations of Castile and Leon Region in Spain (FAFCYLE), another of the leading entities of the operational group.

About the MIKOGEST Operational Group

The Cesefor Foundation (project coordinator), the Federation of Forestry Associations of Castile and Leon (FAFCYLE), the Confederation of Spanish Forestry Organizations (COSE) and the Spanish Federation of Mushroom and Truffle Producers (FETRUSE) are part of this project as project partners, and recently the Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC) has been added.

On the other hand, as subcontracted agents, the Federation of Mycological Associations of Castile and Leon (FAMCAL), the Forestry Association of Burgos (ASFOBUR) and the Forestry Association of Salamanca (ASFOSA) are part of this initiative. In addition, the Government of Castile and Leon participates as a collaborating entity.

The MIKOGEST project covers a period of two years and has received a total budget of 584,000 euros from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) in the 2019 call for innovation projects by Operational Groups of the European Association for Innovation in Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (AEI-AGRI).