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Project aim
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Project aim

The specific aims of the pilot Project are as follows:

  • To build up the relationship between Agricultural Advisory Centres and academic community in Baltic States,

  • To consolidate the forces of responsible governmental institutions to train agricultural counsellors in ecological farming,

  • To support and develop measures for training agricultural counsellors according the needs of their countries and the EU strategies,

  • To develop an operational training system for counsellors in agri-ecological sector, ensuring the continuity of project results.

Justification

Vocational counsellors of agricultural advisory systems (one advisory group from Estonia, one from Latvia and one from Lithuania) in each of the Baltic States form the international target group. The modules will be: a) Agri-environment, including legislation, agricultural production in particular protection territories, the use of the EU structural funds for agro-environment measures; b) Organic crop production and horticulture, including legislation, sustainable agricultural system and governmental policy in organic agriculture, soil, water and plant protection, management of technologies; c) Ecological animal husbandry, including legislation, sustainable agricultural system and governmental policy in organic agriculture, chemical- and toxine-free disease protection measures in veterinary science and agriculture, marketing principles of ecological animal husbandry products; d) Economics and marketing in ecological farming.

The agricultural schools and other scholastic institutions are recently responsible for initial farmers training in Baltic States. After special training course the graduates receives certificate to allow them to buy land and register the farm. The responsible co-ordinators of the further farmers training are Ministries of Agriculture. However, agricultural counsellors are graduates of Agricultural Universities either Colleges in responsibility of the Ministries of Education. Such diarchy leads to non-existence of the system for the further training of counsellors because discontinuous practical training courses are organized either by different organizations or Agricultural Advisor Services themselves. Another problem is the weak relationship between vocational advisory system and agricultural academic community as well. Counsellors want to get an update on the new information from the researchers but the researches are not ready to answer immediately. They have to run field trials, to do laboratory analysis, etc. It takes too long for the counsellors to get answers from the university. Therefore the Project will also be used to train researches/teachers to brush up their knowledge and to make it possible for them to disseminate the information to the counsellors faster. Particularly it is important in the ecological and sustainable farming which is one of the main priorities in agricultural sector of Baltic States. This urge suppose the necessity to form groups of the counsellors who could take care and advice for ecological farms, ensure safe and good quality production. Our Project wants to address above mentioned problems by designing an up-to date system of agricultural counsellor training in ecological agriculture, by introducing the distance learning elements, thus providing necessary information and knowledge from the EU agrarian legislation on the examples of Germany and United Kingdom. Our analysis of the problem shows, and all the parties involved confirm it, that the problem is not only the lack of publications or online courses, but also the fact that we lack a unified approach to the methodology of agricultural counsellors education. This was the reason why the participating partners have decided to prepare a common Project that will create a system of further professional training for the counsellors.

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