Agriculture has always played a fundamental role in the economic, territorial and landscape development of rural areas, especially in Italy, a country where the added value generated by the primary sector is estimated at a value of € 32.2 billion, place among the EU countries (source: Eurostat 2018 data). In recent years, the agricultural sector has evolved towards a multifunctional model. The OECD defines agriculture as multifunctional not only capable of producing and guaranteeing food security, but at the same time also capable of protecting the environment through the conduct of sustainable economic activities.
In this context, the SWEDA (Sustainable Wellbeing Entrepreneurship for Diversification in Agriculture) project is being developed. SWEDA was born from the need to fill the lack of multidisciplinary study programs in the field of sustainable use of resources in rural areas. Through the development of an interdisciplinary EU training course, 30 students (10 for each country involved in the project, namely Italy, Germany and Latvia) will be given the opportunity to acquire new skills in the field of “diversification of agricultural sector activities for the production of social, animal and environmental welfare in rural areas “.
The guiding principles underlying and guiding the SWEDA project are those of circular economy, bio-economy, good employment and economic growth (objective 8 of Sustainable Development of the 2030 Agenda), sustainable consumption and production (objective 12), use sustainable land (objective 15). Finally, SWEDA will allow participants to become real “actors of change”, also through assistance in launching sustainable business initiatives in the agricultural sector. The results that the project plans to achieve are: curbing the depopulation of some rural areas, promoting the inclusion of young people in the labor market, promoting an entrepreneurial spirit in the agricultural sector, effectively contributing to the integrated well-being of rural areas.
The SWEDA project is aimed at:
- Masters and postgraduate undergraduate students. Students enrolled in the master’s degree at the university of agriculture and veterinary medicine, young graduates (all degrees) and agronomists;
- Public and private bodies, NGOs active in rural and sustainable development;
- Stakeholders or stakeholders in the agriculture and rural development sector;
- Local communities in the broad sense.
The European partners involved are: UniPG (University of Perugia Applicant IT); EGInA (European Grants International Academy Partner IT); Petrarca (European Academy for the Culture of Landscape Partner DE); RTU (Riga Technical University Partner LV).
The partnership is made up of experts in the agricultural sector, animal welfare, circular economy and bioeconomy, rural development, multifunctionality, social farms, higher education, promotion of entrepreneurial and digital skills and integration of young people into the labor market.