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RURAL/ITER - Reintroduction Upon Rural Agricultural Lands of Innovative Training for Entrepreneurs on Return

There is a deep-rooted financial/economic crisis at the world level: from the outstanding credits from mortgage loans and speculative bubble in the USA in 2008, with bank and business cracks, the bankruptcy of the Iceland State bonds, till the risks of failure for Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Spain in 2011, for the high rates on state bonds requested by the investors. The financial crisis even attacks the Euro, the heart of the European monetary policy. This economic situation affects the employment market with heavy social consequences, as uncertainty and marginalization of large part of the rural population. Recent analyses from the main world observatories on economics have announced a recession in Europe in 2012, with enlargement of unemployment in all the States. Agriculture had experienced for many years a constant decrease in the number of businesses, farmers, and workers. From 2008, some new facts came up, establishing a trend with increased number of farms, entrepreneurs and employees, particularly for youth (15-44 years old), for adults (45-64 years old) and women. Specific reasons of the “new entries” are to be investigated for different national and local contexts, but the positive trend is consequent of the crisis in other sectors. At the same time the agriculture industry for commodities, after having reached the high added value in 2004, has a progressive erosion of incomes due to price reduction in the last years of the global market. This situation could stop the revival of agriculture and depress the sector. The challenge is therefore to invest in education and training for human resources aiming at increasing the entrepreneurship culture of the new generations, second chance farmers, women. NATURALITER project was a successful Leonardo da Vinci pilot project based on 3 different levels of education and training tools: the 1st level for a basic self-evaluation on farming; the 2nd level for a training-gym from a library of case studies; the 3rd level for farmers with skills on farm planning and managing. The selected farms were used as case studies for multifunctional activities as agro-tourism, organic products, traditional food products, gardening, nursery and landscaping, renewable energy sources. The computerized corporate platform enables farmers and advisors to settle a business plan, to update, change and improve specific farms. In Italy this approach has been developed with applications from the S.E.T.A. national project for: i)business management, ii)environmental management and conditionality, iii)quality management, iv)safety at work, v)e.commerce, vi)work intermediation, vii)human resource management, viii)accountancy and business plan, ix)fiscal support. The RURAL/ITER project aims at updating, adapting, transferring those teaching materials with specific focus on new established young farmers, second chance adults from other sectors, female entrepreneurs.
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