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Skills Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture
Start date: Nov 1, 2016, End date: Oct 31, 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

In the EU almost 50% of the territory is covered by farmland (both arable land and permanent grassland). Agriculture therefore plays a key role in land management and has a huge responsibility in the preservation of natural resources. The desired relationship between agriculture and the environment can be captured by the term “sustainable agriculture”. All farming systems, from intensive conventional farming to organic farming, have the potential to be locally sustainable. Whether they are in practice depends on farmers adopting the appropriate technology in the specific agro-ecological environment.Thus, education in agriculture plays an important role in preparing agricultural workers (mainly farmers), researchers and extension staff to make productive contributions. A critical issue in the 21st century are the changes and adaptations required in agricultural education in order for it to more effectively contribute to improved sustainable agricultural production and rural development (L. Van Crowder et al., 1999). According to Rogers, (1996, p.86) "poor training of agricultural extension staff has been identified as part of the problem of the relative ineffectiveness of much of extension in the field". This applies not only to extension staff, but to agricultural professionals in general. Unfortunately, training of human resources in agriculture is often not a priority in countries’ development plans. In agriculture only 17 % of farmers in EU finished basic or full training in agriculture-related disciplines (Hortet 2006).This proposal aims in advancing the skills of agricultural workers and agricultural extension staff through the development of new curricula and teaching programmes that integrate in a practical way the latest developments in agricultural applied research. The purpose is to provide agricultural workers and agricultural stakeholders with knowledge, skills and competencies in the field of agro-environmental technology for sustainable agriculture.
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