An overview of our services: the cooperative's activities

Checks of the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) within the SIAN

ARPA carries out the control activities relating to the PAC, it participates in the management and in the continuous updating of the National Agricultural Information System (SIAN) and consequently it has a long experience of collaboration with the Public Administrations: at the national level, with the Agency for Payments in Agriculture (AGEA) and the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (Mipaaf), and at the regional level, with the main paying agencies, ARPEA (Piedmont), ARTEA (Tuscany), AGREA (Emilia-Romagna) , ARGEA (Sardinia), ARIA (Lombardy). We often provide qualified staff directly to our clients’ offices with consultancy and coordination duties, always adding quality and reliability to the services provided.

Many years have passed since we used large cadastral maps printed on A0-sheets and copies of the contribution requests by farmers with which we verified land use in various Italian provinces. Since then we have been adopting all the technological innovations that became available: from the metric tape and the expeditious surveys, from theodolite and printed ortho-photos, we first moved to measurements with GPS and then to the use of geographic information systems (GIS) on PC, notebook and tablet: we introduced our portable data acquisition device to the 12th MARS PAC Annual Conference in Toulouse in 2006. Nowadays the work is no less tiring, but the opportunities for mistakes have decreased. Innovation has accompanied the change in agricultural policy from the contributions related to production levels to those related to the farm size, and to those associated with rural development and environmental protection with cross-compliance.

Agricultural and economic consultancy

ARPA offers agronomic advice and planning for agricultural and agri-food companies and cooperatives. It carries out territorial surveys, prepares questionnaires and submits them to interested parties, it analyzes the data and prepares reports: activities carried out for the purpose of evaluating development projects of our clients but also done separately for other clients

Our economists give a complete form to your projects, they assist you in evaluating the most suitable investments, they compute estimates of probable returns: everything needed to request the participation of public bodies or to prepare loan applications to private banks for the realization of your ideas. We make operational the tools of the European Union's rural development policy.

Agronomic, forestry and landscape architecture consultancy

ARPA promotes best practices and the most advanced agricultural techniques. The respect for the environment, the protection of natural resources and the sustainability of the interventions are the reference points of our work. The cooperative designs and directs forest maintenance interventions with hydrogeological settlement plans, urban green and public concession projects, agro-forestry-zootechnical management plans and settlement plans. It conduct landscape evolution studies by assessing the impacts that anthropic activity can generate from an environmental and economic point of view.

The cooperative is active in the diffusion of organic agriculture and not only among farmers: in fact, it owns and manages the Solo Natura shop.

Management and teaching in training courses

The members manage and they are teachers in training courses at different levels, with targets ranging from young people awaiting first employment to on-the-job training for workers, to the specialization of recent graduates. Since 2010, together with the other cooperatives of the company PANGEA scc, we also carry out these activities abroad, participating in international calls of the EU and the World Bank.

Distribution of organic products

Since 1997, with the opening of the shop called Solo Natura, we have been a point of reference in the heart of Rome for the diffusion and sale of products from eco-sustainable supply chains: food from organic agriculture, herbal products, herbal medicine and natural cosmetics, ethical and artisanal fashion clothing. With a careful evaluation of the products offered, we support small regional and zero-kilometer producers, as well as projects for female creative entrepreneurship.

Since 2015 we have a stake in Coopdom srl, a company that deals with wholesale distribution of fresh food products in the Rome market. Two of our members are in its board of directors.

Collaborations with other companies

Our most important activity in Italy began in 1990, with the first checks on aid applications made by farmers in accordance with the agricultural policy rules. Since then, to participate in tenders that have taken place over the years, we have developed partnerships with other companies in the cooperative movement. In 1999 we carried out the first inspection campaign directly contracted by the national paying agency: it concerned all Italian southern regions and employed a team of more than 130 agronomists. In 2007, together with Cooprogetti of Gubbio, DREAM of Arezzo, and Corintea of Turin, as part of the Cooprogetti PD joint cooperative group, we acquired a stake in SIN spa, a company 51% owned by AGEA, the National Paying Agency: since then we participate to the management and the development of the National Agricultural Information System (SIAN).

Over the years, this work has led us to collaborate with regional payment agencies and law enforcement bodies to contrast abuses relating to European aid: to mention the most relevant interventions, we carried out checks in Calabria on the number of livestock, in Campania with ERSAC in the tomato processing sector, in Basilicata with ARBEA for questions relating to the rural development plan.

With the joint cooperative group Cooprogetti PD in 2015, we won a European tender and digitized half of the Turkish territory by providing a complete Land Parcel Identification System which forms the basis for the integrated administration and control system (IACS) required for the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Together with DREAM, Corintea, Climari ltd and Mate Engineering of Bologna, we are members of the PANGEA consortium cooperative society. PANGEA's mission is to bring abroad the members' experience and know-how. With PANGEA we have carried out professional training in Kosovo since 2014 with funding from the World Bank and above all, a large project of technical assistance on the control of CO2 emissions in Turkey funded by the EU. In 2020, again in Turkey, we implement a third technical assistance project, this time related to the FADN agricultural accounting information network.

We have carried out technical assistance missions in Peru, Argentina, Russia, Romania, Pakistan, Equatorial Guinea, Iran.

More recently, through GHGMI-Italy, a non-profit association in which some members and collaborators participate, we have carried out two capacity building assignments for FAO and one for GIZ, the German international cooperation agency, for the Monitoring Reporting system and Verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions in Pakistan.

Climate change

Having been involved in the organic production sector for decades, we have gained considerable experience about adaptation and mitigation measures in the agricultural sector. Since 2014 we have extended our field of actions to the measurement and control of greenhouse gases in all sectors of the economy, thanks to the work in Turkey with PANGEA. In 2018 some members founded the association Greenhouse Gas Management Institute Italy, together with Italian and other international experts with the aim of contributing to the development of a sustainable lifestyle and to the rise of new relationships between human society and the natural environment. In each of our activities and in each of our projects, the actions to reduce emissions and those to adapt agricultural processes to the new climate conditions are the starting point.

Technical means and equipment

A network of computers with 12 workstations in the office uses two parallel and independent connections to the Internet and a back-up server to ensure the continuous availability of the service.

A set of notebooks, routers with wi-fi and printers, ready to be transferred at any time, allows us to make a temporary office operational in any Italian province within 48 hours.

All the necessary applications and hardware to carry out territorial investigations and collect data, to designs and support training services: they are proprietary type within the SIAN and open source type for most other activities.

We have proprietary GIS (Microimages TNTMips) and open source (Qgis, Grass, PostGIS) software for the analysis of geographic data and cartography. For detection and geolocation we have tablets and rugged field PCs plus various GPS systems (Leica GS50 base and rover, Magellan Mobile Mapper CX) to perform accurate surveys, measurements and positioning.

Since 2012 we studied the application of drones and we acquired a drone equipped with a high resolution camera, an autonomy of 2 hours and 1 km of range. Two partners of the cooperative followed the compulsory courses for professional drone piloting and are regularly licensed.