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16 Oct 2009


Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

Copas’ Innovation Prize for Women Farmers was awarded today by EU Farm Commisisoner Mariann Fischer Boel to Austrian dairy farmer Waltraud Schiffer at a Presentation Ceremony in Brussels.

The prize was awarded to Waltraud Schiffer of the organisation Bauerinnenorganisation der
Landwirtschaftskammer Steiermark (AU) for her project “joint dairy farm” which was developed by three neighbouring farms. It is a jointly-run dairy farm with 60 cows and a quota of 200,000 kg milk. The schiffers also directly market dairy products such as curd, butter, yoghurt and icecream.

A Special Achievement Award was also presented at the Ceremony by Esther de Lange from European Parliament to Mare-Claude Guichard from the French Farm Organisation FNSEA for her project “jam: from starters to dessert”. The jams possess an originality, from starters right through to dessert.MEP Britta Reimers also participated in the event and spoke about defending the interests of women farmers at the Committee of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The objective of the innovation award for women farmers introduced by the Copa Women’s Committee is to promote a positive image of women and to identify areas where women farmers can show their expertise in innovation. The prize, which is presented every two years, is awarded on the basis of criteria such as the use of new know-how, new methods or technologies in a given sector. In the context of the projects introduced by the farmers, it seems that
independently of the factors which condition the production and work of farmers, the two main pre-occupations of farmers is how to produce enough food whilst respecting the countryside and how to market healthy products at a good price. They insist on the fact that the most important
aspects are the way of adding value and the sale of their products. The contacts and direct meetings with consumers is equally perceived as important. As these women are often
concerned with buying food for the household, they can present and induce changes to eating habits.

The Women’s Committee was established in 1968, ten years after Copa was created, and holds a special place within the organisation. Women farmers represent over 35% of the agricultural workforce in Europe. Karen Serres, Chairwoman of Copas’ Women’s Committee, insisted “Through the women’s innovation prize, Copa’s aim was to highlight the innovative activities and benefits that women can bring to agriculture. The innovation shown by these women
farmers demonstrates that they are key players in the future of rural society”.

The presentation takes place on the occasion of World Rural Womens’ Day on October 15. The theme for 2009 is “Rural Women at the Heart of Innovation”.

Copa | European Farmers
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For further information, please contact:
Agnes Luycx
Senior policy advisor
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Amanda Cheesley
Press Officer
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