In line with the purpose to elaborate a new agro-food business model and promote Mediterranean local food products, the project aims to establish new knowledge and to explore the feasibility to obtain an innovative product that can contribute to improve human health and to face some of the challenges of the Mediterranean area. In this contest, polyunsaturated fatty acids take part in numerous physiological processes. Moreover, there is evidence that linen derived products (linen plant, linen straw, extruded linseed, linseed bran) and some species of algae, rich in α-linolenic acid, the essential precursor of n-3, may have beneficial effects on human and animal health. An unbalanced diet in terms of n-6/n-3 ratio contributes to increase the cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes and to reduce the human fertility, especially male fertility, in western Countries. On the light of this data, flax and algae supplementation in animal diet is a valid method to increase the productive and reproductive performances, the sanitary conditions of the farm and to produce nutritionally beneficial animal products such as rabbit meat. Finally, these innovative animal products, rich in n-3 and with reduced n-6/n-3 ratio, could be considered an innovative and valid functional food for the improvement of human health and fertility.
The project has the following goals: 1. To develop a new quality food product – “Ωrabbit meat” 2. To optimise the production model of rabbit meat so as to reinforce the whole value chain both for local and foreign markets; 3. To increase the competitiveness of small-scale farmers, manufacturers, local distributors and other intermediate actors.
The project has the following aims: 1. to develop specific feeds for reproducing and growing rabbits based on the supplementation of linen derived products and algae, to reach a higher n-3 fatty acids content in meat; 2. to increase the fertility of rabbits to make more efficient the rabbit farming systems; 3. to improve the sanitary status in the rabbit farms through a higher resistance to infectious diseases, by increasing the immunological response of the animals andinternational markets; 5. to develop an innovative method of packaging that allows to maintain the quality of Ω rabbit meat, to prolong its shelf-life contributing to its commercialization in the domestic market and also for export; 6. to create a new market and supply food chain (ΩRABBIT Consortium) that includes under its disciplinary and logo, farmers, breeders and research centres that produce Ωrabbit meat as a guarantee of a high quality product and under the principle “from the farm to the fork”. According to the purpose to strengthen horizontal integration, the Consortium ΩRABBIT includes the whole food chain that produces the innovative functional food: Ωrabbit meat. The research centres included in the consortium evaluate the quality of the Ωrabbit meat, the sanitary condition of the animals and their fertility. Another innovative aspect is the devise of a special packaging that can extend the shelf-life of the Ωrabbit meat. The dissemination of the results will contribute to the launch of this new healthy product in the market (vertical integration). The consortium and the Ωrabbit meat production will have
Expected impacts: 1. New business models for access to market of the main actors involved in the production and supply chain of rabbit meat, suited to local clusters and SMEs, in IT, FR, TN, EG. 2. New insights in the competitiveness of local clusters of farmers, breeders and distributors, with integrated innovative planning solutions for sustainability and profitability. 3. Increase of the added value of products from local clusters.
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