The 2015/2030 agriculture report of Food and Agriculture Organization asserts the importance of agriculture that uses 70% of clean water resources. Additionally, the report states that agricultural and environmental problems mainly because of pesticides and fertilizers will continue in the next 30 years. These issues have also been addressed by the EU since the 90s and efforts have been made to take measures by legislative regulations since then. In this regard, many projects regarding this issue have been supported by the European Commission and the EU. In the same vein, legislation for the protection of soil and water resources has been published and implemented in our country too within the framework of harmonization with the EU regulations.
Today, new methods to increase the agricultural production efficiency is getting more and more important because of rapidly growing world population and increasing food demand so, conscious production should be done using modern farming methods while protecting human health, soil and water resources. In fact, the strategic objectives of the EU rural development policy include promoting competitiveness in agriculture, as well as ensuring sustainable management of natural resources. Thus, the only way to sustainable use of natural resources is to inform stakeholders by conducting training activities. However, it is observed during the evaluations that the desired level of training has not been reached yet and resource expenditure and labour costs done for this purpose for years have not been very effective. These kinds of inefficient trainings and resource costs pose serious risks for the sustainable use of land and water resources along with environmental pollution. For this reason, new methods and curricula to training studies have been introduced to inform the stakeholders, to raise their awareness and to correct their professional habits through effective training. By doing so, it will be possible to increase the knowledge of agricultural professionals and to spread the experience with multiplier effect. Although there are many scientific studies on these issues, there isn’t an effective source which agricultural stakeholders benefit to find all the required information. Within the scope of this project, a resource is going to be created where agricultural information regarding sustainable use of soil and water can be found comprehensively.
However, despite all these scientific studies on these issues, there is unfortunately no effective source for agricultural stakeholders to benefit from. In order to respond these needs and to provide professional development and the development of ICT use skills in line with the EU 2020 objectives, we are planning to create an e-learning platform for Sustainable Agriculture Education within the scope of this project. These training modules will be primarily used by the project partners and also by schools, agricultural training institutions and all other stakeholders needing such a training platform. Also, these modules will provide a sustainable information network making the target audiences a part of an international training and consulting system. The target groups of our project are farmers, agricultural professionals, researchers and students.
The main objective is to meet the information needs of these groups, which we refer to as agricultural stakeholders, and to increase their professional competence. The educational model and curriculum to be created will be used for many years and create a basis and a good example for similar works. For this reason, agricultural areas, practices and problems in different EU countries have to be identified and studied. The success of this kind of study will be increased if it is done by an international consortium with different expertise and experience. Additionally, internationalization of training, creating an information network with the institutions of the EU member countries, and creating models and curricula by taking into account EU standards and practices is very important for agricultural production.
The collaboration to be initiated during the training phase of this project and finding solutions for the issues mentioned so far will provide a kind of eco-friendly food production complying with EU standards. The training model to be formed through international collaboration will be used more widely and spread other contexts without being limited to project partners. Producing common solutions to common problems will strengthen relations between countries and institutions, EU citizenship, the philosophy of common life while reducing the issues of cultural differences. Publishing the curriculum via a web platform will create a broad data source and a sustainable information network will provide a linkage for information exchange between researcher-technical personnel, manufacturers and among stakeholders in different regions.