State and future of agricultural advisory services in Kosovo were discussed in a seminar called Agricultural Advisory Services in Kosovo in Pristina the 22th of November. The seminar was part of a project which aims to develop training of agricultural advisors in Kosovo. The project partners are Savonia University of Applied Sciences and the Association of ProAgria Centres from Finland and University of Pristina from Kosovo. The project is financed by the Finnish Embassy.
Kosovo is aiming to reach better self-sufficiency in food products and to increase their quality. Finland has two strong competences in this field – education and agricultural advisory services – which can help Kosovo to develop. Currently the challenges in Kosovo’s agriculture are e.g. small farm size, lack of education in farming and food production as well as early phase in development of governance and political system.
– The theme of project is of central importance for Kosovo, underlined Anne Meskanen, the Chargée d'Affaires of the Finnish Embassy, in her seminar speech.
– Still today, Kosovo is very dependent on imported food, but the agriculture here has a tremendous potential. Developing agriculture and food processing can create trade and jobs and significantly contribute to the prosperity of Kosovo.
The training of agricultural advisors started in October with 30 students. All the students already have education and work experience in the field of agriculture.
In addition to competence in agricultural advisory, the project also aims to bring a new pedagogical model to be used in Kosovo: the training is realized with blended learning methods and combines contact lessons and distance learning. The training also includes real farm advisory situations.
The training is mainly realised by the University of Pristina. Savonia University of Applied Sciences and ProAgria Centres mentor the process and provide expert lectures.
Finnish agrologist Tiina Kokko has tackled the development needs of the dairy farms in Kosovo in her recently published thesis. According to Kokko a lot could be improved in heat detection, but hoof trimming is going well. Dairy farmers also like their work and are willing to develop agriculture.
Kokko collected the material for her research through interviews and observation in 13 dairy farms in Kosovo. Her pictures of good milking practices and heat detection will be used as training material for farmers and agricultural advisors in Kosovo.