After almost two years of preparations, agricultural institutions from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia successfully founded the South Eastern Europe Advisory Service Network (SEASN). SEASN Founding Assembly took place in Bulgarian capital city Sofia at 22nd October 2015. Tom Kelly, President of the EUFRAS and Ulrich Ryser, President of the IALB marked special significance to the Founding Assembly with their attending and presented very acutal theme: „Key challenges for European agricultural advisory services and the importance of advisory services cooperation“.
SEASN is association of agricultural advisory services, agricultural chambers, agricultural institutes, faculties and non-governmental organisations. SEASN is operating on the territory of its members and public and private advisory services, advisors individuals as well as other agricultural institutions, non-governmental organisations and natural persons working in agriculture and rural areas can become members in SEASN.
Headquarters and Office of the SEASN are in Zagreb and the President is Milan Husnjak from Advisory Service Croatia. Vicepresidents are Emanuela Dimitrova (Bulgaria), Snezana Jankovic (Serbia), Igor Zlatkov (Macedonia) and Bajram Imeri (Kosovo*). Secretary is Sladjan Stankovic (Serbia) and Deputy Secretary Peter Kristof (Austria). Treasurer is Attila Nemeth (Hungary).
SEASN Executive board nominated Standard working group - Regional Rural Development (SWG-RRD) as supportive member, regarding their big support and contribution to the SEASN initiative and founding.
Present SEASN Executive board with Tom Kelly and Ulrich Ryser. From left: Sladjan Stankovic, Tom Kelly, Emanuela Dimitrova, Milan Husnjak, Snezana Jankovic, Peter Kristof, Bajram Imeri, Attila Nemeth, Ulrich Ryser.
How did the SEASN founding initiative start?
In 2007 FAO organized subregional Conference in Skopje (Macedonia) and one of the themes was collaboration of agricultural advisory services in the region. The conclusion was that there is a strong need for further development and stronger collaboration of advisory services in the region and linkage with research and education in agriculture. Final result of the conference was FAO study: “Assessment of the human capacity development needs for, and gaps in, the Agricultural Advisory Services in Western Balkans“ published in 2011 (http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2119e/i2119e00.pdf).
During 2013 a series of discussions on the need for cooperation of advisory services in South Eastern Europe continues at GFRAS, EUFRAS and IALB meetings and in 2014, Initiative letter for SEASN founding was sent to the addresses of many Institutions in the region. After the Initiative letter, comprehensive and detailed actions began and main goal was a successful SEASN establishment.
What are the main objectives of the SEASN?
- increasing the efficiency of agricultural advisory services in order to develop agriculture and rural areas in the region;
- a dynamic exchange of knowledge and experience about the mode of financing of advisory services;
- simple exchange of experiences, knowledge and information, on an understandable local languages;
- easier cooperation with similar organizations in the region and Europe;
- regional projects cooperation;
- regular correspondence among members of the Association.
What are the main activities of the SEASN?
- organizing workshops, seminars, lectures, panel discussions, symposiums, promotions and other events about current problems and issues;
- connecting interested advisors and other stakeholders to work together and implement various projects relevant to knowledge transfer in agriculture, rural areas and increase sustainability and competitiveness of the sector;
- release of publications, manuals, brochures and flyers about the activities of the Association;
- taking care of vocational and professional training of members by creating conditions for the improvement of professional performance;
- proposing projects important for the region in which Association operates, as well as wider;
- establishing cooperation with local government and regional governments, as well as with other similar associations and organizations at home and abroad;
- collaborating, applying and working on mutual projects;
- cooperation with other organizations and institutions.
SEASN Founding assembly participants.
More info soon at www.seasn.eu
2nd Regional Conference of the Advisory Service of South East Europe
Following the SEASN Founding Assembly, 23rd October 2015 was held the Second Regional Conference of Advisory Services in South East Europe.
The Conference was opened by Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Bulgaria Mrs. Desislava Taneva.
Theme of the Conference was: "Training and key competences of agricultural advisors – benefits for farmers" and 3 parallel panel sessions were:
- Key role of agrarian universities for professional education of advisors
- Knowledge alliances - researchers, advisors and farmers
- Quality standards for providing advisory service.
More than 100 participants attended the Conference – SEASN members, colleagues from Georgia, representatives of Agricultural Institutes and Agricultural Faculties from Bulgaria and other countries in the region. After the Conference, our hosts from Bulgarian National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAAS) organized farm visit to mixed production farm near Sofia for all of the interested participants.
Many thanks to EUFRAS and IALB for strong support, to our hosts NAAS for excellent organisation and to all institutions and person who contributed to a successful SEASN establishment.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
Tea Tosic, DVM
Matija Cabrajec, DVM
Advisory service Croatia