MIKOGEST will use ICT and Big Data analysis techniques to deepen the sustainable management of mycological resources

Last March was held a new meeting of the operational group MIKOGEST (Dynamic & Innovative Management of Mycological Resources) to address the work of the innovation project it plans to carry out. The aim is to manage the regulation of this resource by tools based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), within a framework that guarantees sustainability in the use of the resource, traceability in the value chain and provides useful information to the collector and the business sector.

To achieve this objective, the aim is to generate a Big Data analysis system that provides the necessary information to guarantee the sustainability of both the activity and the habitats, offering precise knowledge of the production capacity of these habitats in real time (through estimates of production in each place and moment), and also processing precise parameters of the demand, commercialization and exploitation of the resource. ICT will also be used to establish communication and information transmission channels with the agents involved in the sector (collectors, consumers, marketers or processors, owners of producing habitats and administrations involved).

This operational group was set up in 2018 and is coordinated by the Cesefor Foundation, which is accompanied in the consortium by the Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), the Federation of Forestry Associations of Castile and León (FAFCYLE), the Confederation of Spanish Forestry Organisations (COSE) and the Spanish Federation of Mushroom and Truffle Growers (FETRUSE). The Federation of Mycological Associations of Castilla y León (FAMCAL), the Forest Association of Burgos (ASFOBUR) and the Forest Association of Salamanca (ASFOSA) also participate as collaborators, as well as the participation, as a collaborating entity, of the Regional Government of Castilla y León. It is worth noting that two of these members (Cesefor and CTFC) are also partners of INCREDIBLE project.

Why MIKOGEST operational group?

The high demand for both internal and external consumption of wild mushrooms is fostering the activity of marketing this product, there are many companies located in the main producing areas of Spain, and creating new ones, contributing through employment to the establishment of the population in disadvantaged rural areas, impacting positively on the rural economy. The lack of supply of these food products is often due to inefficient information and resource management.

Mushroom pickers carry out this activity without any kind of professionalization, and often there are not even basic requirements or knowledge for the development of the activity, generating in many cases a lack of traceability and healthiness of the product.

Some regional public administrations (such as Castilla y León) 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 innovation project of the operational group MIKOGEST has a duration of two years and has benefited from EAFRD funds in the 2019 call for innovation projects of general interest by Operational Groups of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) with a total budget of 584,000 euros (467,200 euros FEADER and 116,800 euros AGE).