PlantwisePlus Blog

Delemont welcomes international students to crop course

Students from Africa, Asia and Central America were welcomed to Delémont, Switzerland last week to begin their Masters of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Integrated Crop Management (ICM). Jointly coordinated by CABI and the University of Neuchâtel, this course aims to address critical agricultural and environmental challenges by offering a unique higher education programme. The students will learn about good crop management principles and explore solutions they can apply in their home countries. The 2016 intake of 12 students come from Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zambia.

Hosted by the Vice-Mayor of Delémont, Patrick Chapuis, the opening ceremony took place in Delémont’s city hall on Wednesday 16 March. CABI’s Regional Director for Europe and the Americas, Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, gave the opening address: “With the global population estimated to reach nine billion by 2050, action is needed to help farmers grow crops safely and sustainably,” said Dr Kuhlmann. “The MAS in ICM delivers science-based knowledge in the field of sustainable agriculture to help solve these critical challenges. We therefore welcome the 2016 intake of MAS-ICM students to Delémont and look forward to sharing knowledge in the months ahead.”

Olivier Tschopp, Head of Unit Training at the Canton of Jura’s Ministry of Education and Culture, was also there to welcome the students. “The MAS-ICM is the result of a successful partnership between CABI, the University of Neuchâtel and the Canton of Jura,” he said. “We are very proud to have contributed to the creation of this programme which is attracting students from around the world.”

The course is supported by the Canton of Jura, the CABI-led Plantwise programme and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Carmen Thönnissen from SDC said, “The MAS-ICM is a valuable opportunity for students to broaden their understanding of ICM and deepen their expertise in specific fields of interest. These insights will enhance their knowledge of sustainable agriculture and strengthen their ability to address specific issues, like crop diseases for example. The course should therefore help students to improve the livelihoods of farmers when they return to their countries.”

SDC funds food security programmes like Plantwise which recently received international recognition, winning the OECD’s DAC prize for development innovation.

Professor Ted Turlings from the University of Neuchâtel, who also attended the welcome ceremony, helps jointly coordinate the course with CABI. Over the next nine months, the students will attend lectures, research demonstrations, field trips and tours. The ICM programme will cover a range of topics including soil and water management, seed selection, crop nutrition, pest and landscape management, rural economics, and national and regional agricultural policy.

Talking about the future, MAS-ICM student Mooya Nzila from Zambia said, “We are very excited to be in Switzerland and looking forward to the course. Our goal as MAS students is to help enhance the agricultural productivity of our countries using ICM strategies. I’m sure that what we learn on the course, particularly on policy formulation and rural economics, will help us to improve the livelihoods of farmers in our countries.”


  1. nanadarko on 29th March 2016 at 1:18 PM

    Reblogged this on Nana Darko.

  2. Jose Mauricio Rivera Canales on 29th March 2016 at 3:58 PM

    I had earlier read about the MAS-ICM and it called my attention for its innovative holistic approach of crop management. I just read your March 29 article and when I read on the variety of nationalities represented, all from tropical latitudes (including a Honduran), it came to my mind if teaching wouldn’t be more appropriate in a tropical realm. I did my graduate studies in the USA because there were not opportunities for graduate studies in my country (Honduras) at that time, and there aren’t still institutions offering those degrees in agriculture sciences. However, there are institutions, like Zamorano, who have the experience (very long experience) and appropriate academic force to complement (the Swiss professors) or provide support to programs like the MAS-ICM. Resuming: wouldn’t it be of more sense to teach (as it particularly applies to field aspects) the degree in the tropics??. SDC has already on-going programs in Honduras (and other countries in the region) and it might be of its interest to consider this possibility. Finally, can I get a copy of the syllabus of the MAS-ICM classes program?. Best regards.

    • Marin Hirschfeld on 30th March 2016 at 8:01 AM

      This specific course is made possible through a partnership between CABI, the University of Neuchâtel, the Canton of Jura and SDC, which is why it’s based in Switzerland. Other ICM courses are of course available across the world, including in the tropics. Details about this course are available here:

  3. Kenneth Martin Khaduli on 31st March 2016 at 6:55 AM

    I congratulate the winners of MAS – MAS 2016 admissions. Personally I tried but never made it, on under qualifications, perhaps a similar course may be designed for Diploma holders , a consideration in this area. I also realise there are no Kenyan in the team, quite unfortunate for the plant doctors from Kenya, I accept the system was transparent and competent globally.

    Wishing you all the best, all inclusive, participatory, innovative and sound health during the nine month stay in Switzerland.
    Kenneth Khaduli
    Trans-Nzoia County, kenya.

  4. […] clinic. These eight plant doctors are in Switzerland at the moment as part of their studies for a Master of Advanced Studies in Integrated Crop Management (MAS ICM) at the University of Neuchâtel, which is made possible with support from SDC, Plantwise and the […]

  5. […] plant doctors. The plant doctors are in Switzerland at the moment as part of their studies for a Master of Advanced Studies in Integrated Crop Management (MAS ICM) at the University of Neuchâtel, which is made possible with support from SDC, Plantwise and the […]

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