An EU funded Technical assistance project on establishment of efficient local Farm Advisory Services was launched in March 2016. The aim is to support the establishment of an efficient and sustainable local farm advisory service for the benefit of farmers, processors and rural communities in the northern part of Cyprus. The Agriculture and Rural Advisory System (ARAS) Strategy has been developed in a participatory manner by Farm Advisory Services project and the Turkish Cypriot Community representatives, including extensive consultation with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors and rural civil society. The ARAS Strategy sets out a development plan for the agriculture and rural advisory system.
The Specific Objectives of the Agriculture and Rural Advisory System (ARAS) are:
- To increase the current agricultural knowledge, innovation, experience, research and business related information services available to farmers and rural entrepreneurs through a centrally coordinated advisory system and service providers;
- To improve the quality of agricultural advice, education and training via support for advisory service providers and reform of public and private training and educational institutions, including the development of new curricula and new vocational training courses which are relevant to current and future agriculture and rural business needs and priorities;
- To ensure the quality, efficiency and relevance of agricultural research through restructuring and optimization of public research institutions, in order to enable them to conduct research relevant to farmers, agri-food businesses and the development of new market opportunities.
In order to establish effective structures various activities are being organised around 3 main tasks:
- Capacity Building,
- Training of advisors and piloting with farmers, and
- Support the launch of EU support for advisory services.
A pool of private local advisors are being trained with the aim to be certified to provide the following advisory service packages: