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Masters course in crop management shares eco-friendly farming techniques worldwide


CABI has conducted research on the long-term effects of its Masters of Advanced Studies in Integrated Crop Management (MAS ICM) and found that agricultural education can enhance confidence, career advancement, and respect among peers. The MAS ICM course promotes eco-friendly agricultural practices, and 44% of graduates received promotions to senior positions as a result. The research suggests that virtual knowledge transfer, as seen in the online Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in ICM, can be effective in spreading sustainable farming practices.

The story

Agricultural education can boost confidence, promotion opportunities and respect among colleagues. That’s what CABI discovered when it researched the long-term effects of its Masters of Advanced Studies in Integrated Crop Management (MAS ICM).

ICM is an eco-friendly way of managing agricultural land and optimizing crop yields. It helps farmers profitably grow more from fewer inputs with a minimal negative impact on the environment. From 2015 to 2020, CABI and the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland ran the MAS ICM. Over 60 graduates from all over the world completed the course. Today, they’re advocates of sustainable agriculture.

In 2021, CABI researched how the students benefited from the course long-term. In 2022, the results revealed that 44% received promotions to more senior positions. The majority of respondents (94%) believed that completing the MAS ICM course contributed to their step up the career ladder.

The MAS ICM course brought together extensionists, policymakers, scientists and teachers from around the world, 40% of whom were women. The CABI study revealed that 92% of the course graduates were able to share their ICM knowledge more widely once back home. This included critical learnings such as the importance of biodiversity for the environment. Most (85%) have changed their attitude towards pesticide use and feel they’re now able to advocate for more sustainable agriculture.

Their knowledge sharing has had a positive knock-on effect on colleagues, farmers, and even policymakers. Graduates have changed attitudes towards pesticide use. And they’ve increased the use of ICM among smallholders, leading to improved yields and incomes.

Research into the MAS ICM suggests that virtual knowledge transfer, of technical skills at least, could be as effective as face-to-face training. And last year saw the introduction of the online Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in ICM. This new virtual delivery will help to boost careers in agriculture and spread eco-friendly farming know-how to many more people.

Sustainable Development Goals

No Poverty

Helping small-scale farmers improve their livelihoods by providing knowledge about plant health and access to markets.

Zero Hunger

Developing a sustainable food system that helps smallholders meet the world's growing need for food.

Quality Education

Support development and prosperity by seeking out, organizing and making evidence based knowledge with those that need it.

Gender Equality

Empowering women and young people to play a more powerful role in the future of agriculture.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Helping grow more from less land by introducing higher-yielding and environmentally responsible food production techniques.

Climate Action

Helping agricultural sector to supply sufficient, safe and nutritious food, embedded in a healthy and climate resilient landscape

Life on Land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Partnerships for the Goals

Organizations must develop and enhance partnerships to find the best and most sustainable solutions to the world's challenges.