SARUD – Training a new generation of eco-conscious farmers

While agriculture plays only a small part in the economies of both the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan – at less than 10% of overall GDP – both countries are experiencing significant growth in the sector. Erasmus+ capacity-building projects are helping improve and modernise agriculture in the area.


Photo from the SARUD project

Russia saw its agricultural industry increase by 3% in 2015, while Kazakhstan's has doubled in the first half of this decade. This growth had led to rural areas undergoing drastic change: the privatisation of farms and subsequent modernisation has brought the differences between large-scale agricultural outfits and smallholdings into sharp relief. Sustainable development strategies and integrated approaches at both a regional and local level are required.

Skilled personnel can use the latest methods to assess and further develop agro-ecosystems and services, which encompass not only agricultural products, but also environmental and social services. These professionals need to be educated in the latest planning and management techniques for the use of agricultural land. They also need to be trained to adopt theoretical development concepts for specific local conditions and have access to the wealth of global experience in this field to apply current methods for the assessment of agro-ecosystems and natural resources.

This is where the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARUD) project comes in. SARUD was selected as an Erasmus+ Capacity Building for Higher Education (CBHE) project in 2015, and it operates on the idea that in order to address the challenges of increasing food consumption currently impacting Russia and Kazakhstan, the industry will require more professionals to manage the situation effectively.

On this basis, the University of Hohenheim (a coordinating institution in Germany) - together with Russian and Kazakh partners - is creating a professional Master programme on sustainable agriculture and rural development in the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan. The programme is tailored to the demands of public services, local and regional governments, private service providers and enterprises. With the help of national network partners, the consortium is establishing a knowledge platform about sustainable agriculture and integrative rural development; its aim is to share the results already achieved and to pursue further goals.

Capacity building projects in the field of higher education –such as SARUD– support the modernisation, accessibility and internationalisation of higher education in Erasmus+ Partner Countries. Furthermore, these joint-initiatives between the EU and Partner Countries allow the latter address challenges in the management and governance of their higher education institutions, such as improving education quality and developing new and innovative education programmes.

This is only one example of the impact these types of projects can have in universities, students and society at large. If you want to learn more about the Erasmus+ Capacity Building Projects for Higher Education, follow this link!

Interested in starting a project to help build capacities? Check out the relevant information here!

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