This opportunity was realized through the activities of the HECAFS Project, funded by the European Union's ERASMUS+ Program.
Today we often hear that academic knowledge should be easily applicable in the production environment and yet this knowledge must be relevant and consistent with the basic state policy in the area of agricultural production development, when it comes to food production and processing sector.
Looking at the world scientifically, a very important factor is obvious – the world has drastically changed. If in 1955 71% of the population lived in rural areas, then in 2015 those remained less than 47%. This is despite the fact that the total world’s population exceeds the point of 7.5 billion people. Undoubtedly, agricultural development to ensure food for so many people in current conditions becomes problematic.
“A visit by a group of teachers from the Center for Technology Transfer of the Agriculture University in Krakow showed that interaction of innovation technologies and their introduction into agribusiness is only possible if there is willingness and understanding of one’s task in matters of agricultural development of the country. Market competition in Europe now makes the large, medium and small businesses work more closely with science. Promotion of a local brand in the European market is directly linked to opportunities of using the latest scientific technologies for production and processing of agricultural products.
Access to public and private funds aimed at development of advanced technologies available for Polish universities and the business allows directing and applying technology transfer instantly.
They do not wait around for the state to provide direction, but go ahead, clearly recognizing that company profits and overall progress in the field of food production depends on collaboration for improving product quality and environmental friendliness of the applied technologies” – states Nasibakhon Aminova, Executive Director, National Association of Small and Medium Business of Tajikistan, who also participated at the training.
According to her, this Center for Technology Transfer represents a complex of three departments responsible for interaction between the research, actual practice of future specialists and the business.
“The experience of interaction was remarkable for its innovation and relevance. It’s not hard to see that farmer has to cultivate the land, fertilize it with nutrients to get a good harvest. Classic pattern of fertilizer consumption is very simple. But, with innovative methods, today a farmer can easily and inexpensively get information from satellites on the need of a certain type of fertilizer consumption, based on the indications of infrared imagery of his field. The service is inexpensive even by the standards of Tajikistan. What stops us from thinking about our own national food security in terms of maximum use of science and technology? Why simple Internet access and mobile telephony restriction in the country could suddenly deprive of ability to get basic weather information through existing agricultural platforms developed for Tajik farmers? GPS - navigation is certainly critical to understanding the scale of seasonal cultivation works. Was that not a direct challenge to the national food security objectives even through such seemingly insignificant technological examples?" – questions Nasibakhon Aminova.
Participants of the study tour noted that the role of the state in agro-economics is crucial not only in terms of planning production and procuring agricultural products, but also in ensuring financial and banking stability for complying with legal contractual obligations and timely payments between market players. It is important to maintain a quality of educational standards and advanced technologies. Unfortunately, in today’s Tajikistan the quality of farmers’ work itself remains at critical level. Farmers only get 10 to 18% of profit per one standard unit of payment made by population for their goods. For instance, for 1 kg of potatoes worth 3 somoni a farmer can make a profit of only 30 diram. The rest goes to market intermediaries, which is, of course, not right. Fragmentation of farmers’ work in their small areas, lack of cohesion among farmers in protecting their own interests, weak financial structure of contracts enforcement and access to funds is the tip of an iceberg of the sector problems.
The population of our countries is very young. And this is good. The retired population in Tajikistan makes only 3.14%, while in Poland it is 17.5%. For Tajikistan this is a positive trend, so as the number of working-age population increases annually. Therefore, investing in the quality of education, development of the agricultural production and processing sector gives an opportunity to guarantee our own food security and stability, since the country is its people who want to stay and work in their homeland, when educated. Thus, the global challenge to reduce universal hunger can find its solution in maintaining the traditional approach to food culture, cultivating your own land and preserving traditional farming.