14 March 2019 – The Masters of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Integrated Crop Management (ICM) course has welcomed another 12 international students for the 2019 academic year. An opening ceremony was held in Delémont, the capital of the Swiss Canton of Jura to mark the occasion.
The MAS ICM course offers agricultural professionals working in areas such as extension, research and education the opportunity to build on a previous Master’s or Bachelor’s degree and adopt holistic principles of ecology, soil health, crop and land management, as well as socioeconomic considerations into their future careers.
CABI and the University of Neuchâtel have run the course for five years with 47 students from 19 countries participating so far. This year’s students come from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zambia.
The broad range of topics covered in the course explore practical solutions to help improve rural livelihoods and contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Speaking at the opening ceremony held at Delémont townhall, close to the CABI Switzerland centre, Professor Ted Turlings, MAS ICM co-director, said, “With the global population growing at a rapid rate the need for safe and sustainable supplies of food has never been more important. Our MAS ICM course addresses this issue by offering students from different countries science-based solutions to ensure food security now and into the future.”
The course is taught in Switzerland with the support of the Canton of Jura, the CABI-led Plantwise Programme and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Topics covered include soil management, seed selection, crop nutrition, cropping strategies, pest and landscape management, water management, statistics, national and regional agricultural policies, and rural economics.
On behalf of all the students, Sergio Mabasso from Mozambique addressing CABI staff and delegates, said, “We all look forward to using what we learn here to address the challenges farmers face in our home countries. I’m particularly interested in learning about how to treat crop pests and diseases using biological and ecological approaches. We’d like to thank CABI, the University of Neuchatel, SDC and the Jura Canton for welcoming us to Delémont.”
The students will spend the next nine months gaining theoretical and practical knowledge on best practices in crop management that can then be applied and shared among a diverse range of people in developing countries – from farmers to policy makers.
Addressing the students, Simon Zbinden, Co-Head Global Programme Food Security, SDC, said, ‘I am delighted you are all here and taking part in this programme. Integrated Crop Management needs your brain power, dedication and passion to work and sustainably use the planet’ resources. You are going to help develop our ingenuity and contribute your own pieces of the puzzle to addressing food security, one of humanities greatest challenges.’
Speaking about the important collaboration between CABI and the Canton of Jura, Cindy Galvanetto-Kottelat, Department of Education, Culture and Sports, said during the ceremony, ‘I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to CABI for its commitment to improving our citizens quality of life in the fields of agriculture and the environment.’
Find out more about the MAS ICM course