24 November 2017 – A graduation ceremony held on 17 November 2017 in Engelberg, Switzerland, celebrated the successful completion of the 2017 Masters of Advanced Studies in Integrated Crop Management (MAS in ICM) programme by international students.

Coordinated by CABI and the University of Neuch√Ętel, the MAS in ICM programme provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles of good crop management, with an emphasis on productivity and environmental sustainability.

Over nine months, the course imparts the skills and knowledge needed to address some of the critical challenges facing agriculture today. Topics covered include soil management, seed selection, cropping strategies, pest and landscape management, water management, statistics, national and regional agricultural policies and more.

“The Masters of Advanced Studies in ICM is a unique higher education programme delivering science-based knowledge in the field of sustainable agriculture,’ explained Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director of Global Operations. “The knowledge and skills the programme provides will help improve not just food security but also food safety, and will help deliver economically viable farming that is also ecologically responsible.”

It is expected that most course graduates will go on to apply and disseminate this knowledge in their own countries through their regular employment, delivering improved agricultural policy and practice on a wide scale.

Since its inception in 2015, the MAS in ICM programme has trained 35 agricultural professionals from 14 low and lower-middle income countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

One 2017 course graduate is Henry Msatilomo, Chief Agriculture Extension Officer in Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.

“Now I am very happy,’ said Henry after the graduation ceremony. “When I get back home to Malawi I’m going to use the knowledge and skills I’ve gained here on my own farm, but also to train other extension officers in Malawi, so that we can better help farmers. I also think what I’ve learned through this programme is going to inform certain decisions in terms of the policy of the government. So I’m really very excited – I should be able to contribute to the development of my country.”

Professor Daniel Schulthess, vice-rector of the University of Neuch√Ętel, was present at the graduation ceremony and was struck by the calibre of the students.

“I’m very impressed by this class of 2017,’ he said. “They did bring a lot of previous experience to this course of studies, and took time off from their careers to study – I find that very impressive. It’s a very international group and it is also good to see women take their due place here. We know the importance of women’s role in agriculture worldwide, so it’s also important that they are present in the science.”

The Masters of Advanced Studies in Integrated Crop Management is supported by the Canton Jura, Plantwise and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Limited scholarship places are available. More information on the course is available here.

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