European farmers and their successors live in a changing market environment and have to prepare for the new Common Agricultural Policy after 2015, allowing more freedom to produce products of own choice and quantity. The new EU countries experience this even more. Especially the situation in less favored regions, often in remote areas with relative small farms, is complex. Such families are found in large numbers in Central- and Eastern Europe. Then the ability to apply entrepreneurial skills is a key factor for survival. One component of entrepreneurship deals with strategic choices. However, farmers focus on day by day management and operational, rather than strategic decisions. Capacity to take initiative is also a large challenge.
The Interactive Strategic Management (ISM) Method was introduced in 3 Central-Eastern EU countries within Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation ISM Project in 2011-13, to instruct dairy farmers and advisors how to prepare a farm strategy. The trainings were very positively evaluated. Also, scientifically based positive effects were measured on competencies’ development of the farmers. Based on these positive experiences we built the current project. Therefore, the aims of this ISM+ project are to:
- improve entrepreneurship competencies of farmers, advisors, teachers, and agricultural students;
- assess the local agricultural framework conditions by a context analysis in order to adapt the ISM method and understand the outcomes of the training process;
- extend the ISM method to farmers and students in a variety of agricultural sectors (dairy, beef, pig, crop production);
- make the training applicable to a larger language area in Europe (English, German, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovenian languages);
- make the ISM method more applicable to market oriented development paths and adding the marketing module;
- add a business planning module for economic assessment of farmer choices;
- introduce the concept of networking to stimulate social entrepreneurship;
- evaluate the effects of the trainings and use of tools;
The target groups of the project are: farmers and vocational agricultural students on one hand and agricultural teachers and advisors on the other hand.
The project consortium consists of organizations in the fields of research, education, economics, know-how transfer and agro-business. Participation of the agricultural universities (Wageningen, Ljubljana and Warsaw) and the Economic Institute in Vilnius, on the one hand, and professional farmer associations and extension services in all countries, on the other hand, assure smooth cooperation, innovative knowledge transfer and interaction between science and practice, which contributes to achievement of the project objectives. The positive experiences from cooperation in the previous project add to a solid fundament for this new project.
This ISM+ project focuses on product development serving the ERASMUS+ goals. It strengthens the capacity of farmers, teachers and extension workers to help articulate and develop strategies and market opportunities. The ISM tool and materials are made applicable to a variety of agricultural sectors, the local situation and languages in the four countries, and become part of the extension packages and educational curricula. The project will establish the framework for an EU Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Platform.
Start Date: 01-09-2015
Ending Date: 31-08-2018
Duration in months: 36
EC Contribution: 232 202 euro