INNOVATIVE AND CROSS-SECTORAL CLUSTERS AS FACILITATORS OF VALUE ADDED CHAINS IN AGRICULTURE - SMART AGRO CLUSTERS IN ROMANIA
Clusters play an important role in driving competitiveness, innovation and jobs creation in the EU. Romania currently has successful clusters in various economic sectors and services, including 7 clusters in agro-food. Agriculture has been and remains the support of the human existence, which is an important pillar of the Romanian rural economy. The agro-food sector had oscillating evolutions in the post-accession period, mainly generated by the need to get in line with the EU requirements. Stimulating smart technology assimilation across all economic sectors including agro-food value chains, promoting enterprise growth and clusters 4.0 is critical to many EU Member States. Partnerships between countries, regions, cities and clusters are essential in the next industrial modernization process, based on innovation. Clusters 4.0 calls for development of a generation of advanced cluster policies to respond to these new industrial challenges by facilitating cross-sectoral value chains, fostering internationalization, stimulating inter-regional investment and accelerating entrepreneurship and skills in digital production, environmental production, circular economy, service innovation and creative economy. In order to be ready for the future, clusters must be geared towards creating a smart value chains, international cooperation and cross-sectoral partnerships. This research paper proposes a model as a tool for agro-clusters to become “smart”, also this proposal providing information on the most important steps in the creation and development of smart agro-clusters. The used research methodology was based on analysis and synthesis of the information on the economic and social aspects of the development of the agro-food sector and of clusters in Romania. In conclusion, the authors of this paper wanted to emphasize the necessity of the development of smart agro-clusters for the future smart specialization of the regions.