Sustainable bioeconomy in farming: new skills for new developments models

Monday 24 October 2022

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World agriculture is facing complex challenges such as the rapid increase in the world population and the necessary maintenance of food security, the growing competition given by globalized markets and increasingly important climate change.

In this context, it is essential to adopt new and more sustainable ways of producing in agriculture and to ensure that agricultural operators manage their natural capital more efficiently.

The bioeconomy can be part of the solution to this problem by becoming a new model for the agricultural sector. Since 2012 the European Commission adopted its Strategy for a sustainable bioeconomy to ensure smart green growth in Europe.

According to The Updated Bioeconomy Strategy of the European Commission (2018) bioeconomy means using renewable biological resources from land and sea, like crops, forests, fish, animals and micro-organisms to produce food, materials and energy.

Today’s European bioeconomy includes the agricultural, forestry, fisheries, food, bioenergy and organic products sectors. As reported in The European way to use our natural resources: action plan 2018 it has an annual turnover of € 2.3 trillion and employs around 18 million people. It is estimated that bio-based industries could create up to one million green jobs by 2030, mainly in rural and coastal areas.

A sustainable bioeconomy, while it benefits everyone, has particular relevance for rural communities. The bioeconomy relies on biological resources that are mostly sourced or produced in rural areas. It involves primary producers of both agricultural and forest products. The processing and distribution of bio-based products creates new opportunities for processors, retailers and consumers particularly in rural areas, but also beyond.

EC, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, 2019

Providing the needed skills and meeting the educational needs in the European bioeconomy are key challenges for change.

European Commission, 2018.

Relief project aims to spreading the principles of the bioeconomy in the agricultural sector and contribute to innovate EU rural areas by creating educational and professional training opportunities for university students, agriculture consultants and farmers.

Relief training approach wants to address:

  • bioeconomy skills;
  • green, entrepreneurial and transversal skills such as communication, leadership, critical, creative and agile thinking, problem solving, team building, emotional intelligence, resilience skills:
  • digital skills that are necessary for the facilitation of the transition to bioeconomy.

Following the Living Lab approach, Relief will establish collaborative structures called Bio-Economy Hubs to support rural communities especially farmers to develop bioeconomy competences and mind-set and to adopt new sustainable business models.

In line with the requirements of the Alliances for Innovation Relief brings together a group of Higher Education Institutions, Vocational Education and Training providers, farmer consultants, research institutes with presence in rural communities and farming in four EU countries. On 26 and 27 September, the RELIEF consortium met in Kalamata (Greece), hosted by the coordinator, the University of the Peloponnese, to share the first progress of the project and plan future work. The partners are now engaged in the critical review of the educational and training offer and of the methodologies used to transmit the concepts of the bioeconomy to students and professionals.

About the project

RELIEF – euRopean bio-Economy aLliancE in Farming is co-funded by Erasmus+ programme, Partnership for Innovation, Alliances for Education and Enterprises.

Partners

For further information

Read more about Relief, visit the website https://relief.uop.gr/ and follow us on Facebook and Linkedin.

Contact Caterina Impastato, caterina.impastato@cesie.org.

CESIE