9 December 2015
Education in Agroforestry: Building Today’s and Tomorrow’s Agriculture
During 2014 and 2015, the European Union has supported the AgroFE project focused on “Agroforestry Education in Europe”. A final meeting on “Education in Agroforestry”, attended by about 60 people, was chaired by MEP Ricardo Serrão Santos (Portugal) at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday 9 December 2015.
Professor Charles Burriel, the leader of the AgroFE project, highlighted the importance of education to support the development of agroforestry. The AgroFE project has delivered training for farmers and other stakeholders in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Romania and the UK. The project has also established guidelines on the skills and competences of agroforestry professionals. Mr Stephen Briggs, a farmer from the UK, explained that further development of agroforestry requires adequate skills, and skill development requires training.
Professor Rosa Mosquera-Losada, who is the President of the European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF) and the leader of the policy work-package in the AGFORWARD project, explained the benefits of agroforestry in terms of carbon sequestration, resource use efficiency, and runoff control. She also highlighted that a European Agroforestry Strategy would help to integrate current education, research and innovation initiatives to promote appropriate agroforestry in Europe. Mr Fabien Balaguer, from the French Agroforestry Association (AFAF), described the importance of having a landscape cross-sectoral approach to agroforestry development in order to give this subject its full scope. Dr Paul Burgess, Co-ordinator of the AGFORWARD project, explained how agroforestry is a significant land use (equivalent to 15% of the total agricultural area) across Europe and that researchers, land managers and administrators need to continue working together to deliver sustainable agroforestry practices.
The meeting was closed by MEP Paul Brannen (UK) who concluded that “agroforestry is one of the solutions to fight climate change”. It is anticipated that the materials produced by the AgroFE project will be made available on the AgroFE website in the next few months.