Developing OER and Blended Modules for Agriculture..
Developing OER and Blended Modules for Agriculture and Rural Development
Start date: Oct 1, 2015,
End date: Mar 31, 2018
In general most of the Macedonian farmers are uneducated and use fertilizers and pesticides spontaneously, what often results in inadequate production in means of quality and quantity. On the other hand, according to the EU regulations, the farmers will be required to follow approved production principles or will be facing possibilities to be penalized for applying amounts of fertilizer without performing soil analysis, or for applying certain pesticide which holds no permit to be applied over certain crop.
This project aims to produce critical number of experts, OER and on-line tools that will provide service and expertise to professionals (advisors), farmers and rural community in order to increase the quantity and quality of their agricultural production, yet to be aware for the necessity for environmental protection as well.
Groups of extension specialists in plant production and plant protection, along with organic farmers will be exposed to the foreign experiences in applying Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Organic farming principles on a farm level. HEI, members of this consortium will join forces in order to create short-term courses on most important IPM and Organic principles
The reason for transnational nature is due to the lack of IPM and Organic practice in HEI in Macedonia. Two of the consortium members are registered and accredited in EU member country and conduct training for students and other interested parties on IPM & Organic farming principles in accordance to the EU regulations. Chania will be to be developed soil analysis procedure and fertilization recommendation as well as Organic and IPM production of so called Mediterranean crops and fruits i.e. olives and olive oil production, citruses and peaches growing, hence its role will be to transfer the know-how in growing mentioned crops according to the Organic and IPM principles. On the other hand, the Agrarian University in Plovdiv will be invited to develop know-how transfer through organizing short-term courses and development of learning tools in Organic & IPM management for apples, pears, table grape and grape for wine production.
Four short-term courses (7 working days) will be organized. One of them on soil analysis and environmental protection through proper use of fertilizers in agricultural production. The second course will be organized for the IPM/organic principles in growing Mediterranean crops, such are table grape, peaches, olives, citruses and production of olive oil. These will take place at the premises of CIHEAM in Chania, Greece. The remaining short-term courses will take place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The topics that will be covered are to be Organic farming (preparation of mixtures for plant protection) and IPM in growing apple, pears, and table and wine grapes.
Also one-day multiplier event will be held, on which presentation of new created IT and OER tools will be presented in front of number of local farmers and other stakeholders.
UGD, the project applicant will also develop a project web site to host the OER and will develop and upload on-line calculator for applying fertilizers in accordance to the crop specifics as well as pesticide data-base registered for use in the Republic of Macedonia. The other tree partners are directly or indirectly involved in farming and will be users of the project intellectual outputs and responsible for further dissemination of the results to the farmers as individuals or companies.
The expected impact of the project includes: Increased number of competent individuals who will understand the forthcoming implementation of standards which ordinary rural population (farmers included) hardly understand; Creation of tools for sustaining knowledge on different level of expertise. Introduction of IT tools in agriculture and changing the prejudice that computers and IT have no place in agriculture; Common understanding on the direction where Macedonian farmers need to develop in order to stay in production, as the introduction of the 'new' regulations could drive majority of them into bankruptcy; HEI to understand the necessity to include IT tools in learning process and to assist the agriculture sector in larger accessibility to information of various character.
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