In times of changing conditions, with strong pressure from markets and citizens to adjust and innovate, the farming community needs timely access to knowledge and information as well as training and education.
Policy makers across Europe will get a helping hand to identify ways to reach farmers with new information and a rethink of advisory services, thanks to the EU-backed project PRO AKIS (‘Prospects for Farmers’ Support: Advisory Services in the European Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems’).
The PRO AKIS team is mapping the many different information sources available to farmers. It investigates agricultural advisory services within the context of Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems (AKIS).
The 30-month, FP7-funded initiative comprises a consortium of partners from seven European organisations.
It is approximately halfway through its work, having completed an inventory of information and advisory services in 27 EU countries.
Providing advisory services is one essential means to enhance problem solving, information sharing and innovation-generating processes. Such services can be provided by various actors, among them formal training and post-secondary education bodies and NGOs but also by members of administration or research institutions.Since 2009, there has been a European regulation obliging member states to set up a ‘Farm Advisory System’.
PRO AKIS has already held a series of regional workshops in Copenhagen, Paris and Krakow, each aimed at delivering early findings and country reports to countries in that particular region.
The PRO AKIS consortium is led by the James Hutton Institute in the UK, a world-leading, multi-site scientific organisation.
Dr Katrin Prager, project co-ordinator at the James Hutton Institute who is responsible for data from UK and Ireland, said, ‘We have identified the organisations that create, transfer and disseminate knowledge relating to agriculture, including universities and research institutes, agricultural colleges and advisory organisations. The 27 country inventories have been presented at three regional workshops across Europe. Now stakeholders from ministries, advisory organisations and farmers’ organisations are commenting on their country’s information systems and learning how other countries structure and run their advisory services. I would like to thank all of the participants and board members for their inputs and suggestions so far.’
Michael Kuegler, head of the German Chambers of Agriculture and the European Forum of Rural Advisor Services (EUFRAS) Brussels office, commented, ‘As a member of the PRO AKIS expert board, EUFRAS is continuously looking to optimise learning processes for the whole rural community. We are very pleased about the PRO AKIS mapping efforts in Europe, as it helps us to identify and reduce bottlenecks and how to realise cross-border learning of rural advisors.’
PRO AKIS – http:www.proakis.eu
Project factsheet http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/105025_en.html
Data Source Provider: James Hutton Institute
Document Reference: Based on a CORDIS Wire press release from PRO AKIS.
Subject Index: Employment issues ; Information, Media