Case Study Region Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Ljubljana is the capital of the Republic of Slovenia, administratively a part of the Municipality of Ljubljana (MOL) and in broader terms, a part of the Ljubljana metropolitan region (LMR). The MOL covers an area of 275 km2 and encompasses 1.36% of Slovenian territory (20,273 km2) and has 286,994 inhabitants, making up 13.9% of the population of Slovenia (2,060,663).
The dense core of Ljubljana is integrated with other municipalities in the Ljubljana Urban Region (LUR) encompassing 26 municipalities with a total of over 500,000 residents. The MOL has the highest population density in Slovenia, is economically the most developed and has the highest index of living standard. The MOL plays a key role in the entire area of the LUR and LMR, connecting the region into an integral whole with its administrative and economic power, traffic ways and daily labour migration.
In 1991 in the MOL there were 1,342 farms with average size of 4 ha, in 2000 924 farms with average size of 6.4 ha and in 2010 826 farms with average size of 6.9 ha. Fruits traditionally grown in the MOL are strawberries, blueberries, and apples. Cereal production is constantly declining. Vegetable production in winter is concentrated on rampion, rocket, lettuce and radish and in the summer months on tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, cabbage and lettuce. Dairy milk production is concentrated in the flatland and beef production in the hills around the city.
The main research activities were focused on acquiring information about food supply chain characteristics by engaging stakeholders from different commodity groups. At different meetings, workshops and in field work we engaged private and public stakeholders including small and large agriculture holdings, allotment and home gardeners, cooperatives, SMEs, consumer groups, the Municipality of Ljubljana, Landscape park, Chamber for Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia.
Stakeholders pointed out that local food chains are becoming longer from the time perspective because producers must also deal with marketing and production technologies and not solely production. Lack of agricultural extension officers in the field of production technologies is a serious limitation in optimizing production. Many farmers have poor or no agricultural education and new knowledge is mainly acquired only through exchange of experiences or through trial and error practice.
Consumers are very well informed about the advantages of locally produced food, and are therefore getting more demanding, but they are poorly informed about ‘seasonal’ food. Participants observed that the national generic promotion of agricultural products funded by the EU has helped to increase the sales from small growers. Growers also observe a shift in vendors’ and retailers’ behaviour who have started to appreciate locally produced food.