ENDURE's Exploratory Training Workshop met in Budapest, Hungary, last week and gained valuable insights into farmer advisory schemes across Europe and in the USA.
The two-day workshop was given an overview of the current situation in Europe by Janice Jiggins, Guest Researcher in Communication and Innovation Studies at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
Poul Henning Petersen, Senior Adviser at the Danish Agricultural Advisory Service, illustrated the situation in Denmark, which has a very active advisory scheme owned by farmers.
This works at a local level, through 47 independent advisory centres, and at a national level, through a national centre, which is responsible for providing advice for advisors, conducting development work and bridging the gap between research and practice.
Farmers are both the users and the owners of the Danish service, which is independent of both the chemical industry and the authorities.
Hungary has an advisory service which is undergoing continuous development, said Judit Papp Komaromi, of Szent Istvan University.
She underlined the importance of the participatory approach to training, which was introduced to Hungary in 2003 under an FAO project aimed at using IPM techniques to combat Western Corn Rootworm.
The idea of participatory IPM training for farmers is still in its infancy in Germany, explained Astrid Guenther, of the countryâ??s Julius Kuehn Institute, though preliminary talks with advisers are planned for later this year.
Providing a view from further afield, ENDURE Assistant Coordinator Marco Barzman revealed his experiences with the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) programme at the University of California, which uses an informal and interactive approach to advising.