Twelve international students celebrated the completion of the 2018 Masters of Advanced Studies in Integrated Crop Management (MAS in ICM) course at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Coordinated by CABI and the University of Neuchâtel, the MAS in ICM programme provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles of good crop management, with an emphasis on productivity, and economic and environmental sustainability.
Topics covered during the nine month course include soil management, seed selection, cropping strategies, pest and landscape management, water management, statistics, national and regional agricultural policies and more. Students return to their employers equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to address some of the critical challenges facing agriculture today.
Speakers at the ceremony were Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director of Global Operations, Professor Ted Turlings, Vice-director of the Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel, and Professor Daniel Schulthess, vice-rector of the University of Neuchâtel.
Dr Kuhlmann said, “The Masters of Advanced Studies in ICM offers students an opportunity to learn about sound crop management principles and explore solutions in their home countries. Students have a range of backgrounds including extension, agriculture, research, teaching and policy. This international mix of experience creates a unique learning atmosphere in the classroom where students can exchange different approaches to tackling issues covered on the course.”
Addressing the students during the ceremony, Dr Kuhlmann highlighted his interest in their final thesis project which took three months to complete: “We’re very proud of your achievements on the course and keen to learn what you do with the results of your thesis. We look forward to hearing how you put in to practice what you have achieved here to improve crop management in your home countries.”
Many of the students’ theses created ICM guidelines for specific crops related to their experience researching and diagnosing crop pests in their own countries While others assessed crop data from the CABI-led Plantwise programme with the aim of improving crop pest and disease management. It is expected that most course graduates will go on to apply and disseminate this knowledge through their regular employment, helping to deliver improved agricultural policy and practice on a wide scale.
Since its inception in 2015, the MAS in ICM programme has trained 47 agricultural professionals from 17 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
One 2018 course graduate is Nixon Edson Nyalugwe, Crop Protection Officer and Data Manager, Plantwise, Malawi:
“I am extremely happy that, after working hard for nine months, I’ve finally graduated today. I’m very grateful to the staff of Neuchâtel and CABI for helping me complete this course. Now it is my duty to go back to my country and work with farmers. What I have learned from here I will try to implement with farmers and colleagues back home.”
Referring to the global importance of the course, Professor Turlings said, “A rapidly growing world population has an urgent need for safe, sustainable supplies of food. Good education of agricultural scientists and policymakers is needed to help address this challenge which is why this course is so important. Thanks must go to all the efforts from students and staff, involved in making the MAS ICM course such a success.”
The Masters of Advanced Studies in Integrated Crop Management is supported by the Canton Jura, Plantwise and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Limited scholarship places are available.