Agriculture in transition: analysis, design and management of sustainable farming

The Netherlands, 16 – 27 June 2008
Course Focus
Sustainable farming is both a catchword and a genuine concern in discussions on the future of agriculture and society. Such discussions concern issues like the profitability of farming, reduced emissions of nutrients, chemicals and/or CO2, loss of biodiversity, balanced development between urban and rural areas, establish­ment of new marketing channels, poverty alleviation and regeneration of soils and social structures. Many different stakeholders in business and private or public sector institutions have to cope with this change of focus in development, which is often referred to as ‘3P’: People, Planet and Profit. For stakeholders who are interested in this change of focus, this course offers background, theoretical aspects and practical approaches for research, policy, production, processing and retailing.

This course addresses a wide range of issues including con­sumer concerns, processing and chain develop­ment as well as issues involving soil, people, plants, animals and cultural aspects at farm, regional and higher levels. It demonstrates differences and similarities between small, mixed, specialised and large farms regarding aspects such as local marketing, long production chains, community orientation and commodity orientation.

Aims and objectives
The course aims for the participants to actively generate and exchange information on technical issues and aspects of societal and institutional change with respect to more sustainable farming. After completing the course, the participants will be able to relate their own practices and problems to similar experiences from elsewhere. They will gain improved access to modern approaches, literature and practical methods and updated networks. And last but not least, they will be able to apply the basic principles of system analysis and design to their work, in both quantitative and qualitative terms. The course will conclude with a special seminar, to which outside participants will also be invited. These are ambitious aims, but our experience with providing such courses in the Netherlands and abroad ensures a coherent programme that caters to individual needs.

Training methods
The course consists of three components:
  • Lectures on practice and theory of sustainable farming (e.g. certification, nutrient balances, emerging diseases, trade and regulations, policy/education and on the advantages and disadvantages of specialised vs. mixed farming, large vs. small scale, crops vs. livestock and conventional, organic and fair-trade production and marketing systems)
  • Practical tools for analysing and designing sustainable farming systems (e.g. system diagramming, stakeholder analysis, participatory methods, hard, soft and complex system tools)
  • Working in small study groups on issues with the aim of developing individual action plans for their own situation.

The course includes field trips with assign­ments, and outside speakers are invited for some of the lectures. The participants not only exchange expe­ri­ences, but will also generate new ones. They do this by working actively together, by using a flexible programme suited to their own needs and the issues they raise, and by focusing on work in study groups.

Fellowships and Application
A limited number of fellowships are available from the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) for nationals of certain countries. Candidates who wish to apply for such a fellowship should begin the application procedure as soon as possible. Candidates must FIRST apply to Wageningen International for admission to the course. Acceptable candidates will receive a letter from Wageningen International indicating that they have been PROVISIONALLY accepted. Candidates can then apply for a NFP fellowship through the Netherlands Embassy or Consulate in their own country. Please note that NFP fellowships are not available for a combination of this course with courses from other training programmes. Applications for NFP fellowships should be submitted to Wageningen International before 1 February 2008.

The deadline for application directly to Wageningen International, with funding other than an NFP fellowship, is 16 May 2008. Application Form here

Who can participate?
The course will especially benefit mid-career staff in business, administration, research and education, as well as those in private and public organisations. Entrepreneurs and advisors will also benefit by meeting colleagues and by having time to reflect and gain a new perspective on the topic, which is often missing in the hustle and bustle of daily life. In most cases the group will comprise a mix of technically and academically oriented participants with the aim of promoting active participation with much interaction and generation of new ideas.

The basic prerequisite for participation in the course is active interest and professional experience in the topics to be addressed. Participants should be competent in English; in addition, it is helpful but not essential (depending on the source of funding) that they also have a BSc degree or another academic qualification.

Participants will be awarded a Certificate of Attendance.



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Cambodia Jobs: Agriculture in transition: analysis, design and management of sustainable farming
Agriculture in transition: analysis, design and management of sustainable farming
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