The overall ambition of ASTER is to offer to small tomato farmers in the Mediterranean basin (and particularly to women and young farmers) an innovative management model founded on the agroecology principles that combines sustainability, reliability, productivity and income security. This will be feasible through the development of new concepts in crop management based on the exploitation of ecosystem services increased by the adoption of specific strategies and tools. ASTER model aims at reducing drastically the external inputs, particularly pesticide, fertilizer and herbicide applications, in those countries where they represent the only way to realize satisfactory levels of production. ASTER ambition is also to push small farmers to produce quality products in terms of nutraceutical features while minimizing the environmental impact. ASTER management protocol for tomato crop could be also become a model for both annual and perennial crops all over the Mediterranean Basin. In this direction goes the large effort that ASTER poses on communication, dissemination and on formation targeting where possible young and women farmers. The large support received by stakeholders (Participant 8 and 19 supporters) from all countries participating indicates how ASTER is needed, realistic and feasible. Finally, ASTER has the ambition of fostering the creation of new business through start-up enterprises in Mediterranean markets producing some of the new tools, in some cases tested in the field for the first time.
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