Agro-food is an important economic driver for EU. It emerged as one of the most prominent domains with EU regions smart specialization strategies. (Agro-food EU Cluster Observatory 2/2017). Agriculture continues to play an important role in many areas, and in some regions it also contributes to economic growth. The evolution from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reflects the changing approach to global development. This approach, based on sustainable development and human rights, is fully consistent with EU values and principles. The 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs are universal and apply to all countries at all stages of development. Agro-food systems from production, to processing, consumption, nutrition and recycling food waste, plays an important role in terms of SDGs targeted to employment and environmental sustainability are at the center of the sustainable development agenda. It is estimated that a global agriculture and food system in line with the SDGs, could create new economic value of more than EUR 1.8 trillion by 2030. Sustainable agricultural and food production practices are expected to create over 200 million full time jobs globally by 2050.
AGROS contributes concretely to the uptake of the actions and priorities of the “Skills for green jobs (Cedefop 2017)”, the EU Digital Agenda and the New Skills Agenda. AGROS brings 7 key partners from 6 different countries (GR, CY, ES, LT, RS & HR) which are dealing with Agro-food sector, green skills and Education, providing coherent response to the challenges facing the sector by complementing and adding value to existing initiatives. The main objective is to enhance knowledge of the professionals in Agro-food sector across EU, retrain and upskill workers employed in other sectors and/or people currently unemployed by transferring a dynamic methodology and a set of materials based on SDGs and innovative approaches related to Food, strengthening cooperation between industry and education (IO1, IO2), provide professionals/ educators/ trainers a new assessment tool which will give them the opportunity to assess their skills related on the new demand skills of the Agro-food sector and the SDGs (IO3), to fill the skills gap in this sector and to raise awareness of Agro-Food Careers and tools via the creation of a dedicated Hub (IO4). Considering that the identified challenges and needs regard not only the participating countries in specific, but the majority of EU countries and that the efforts of the EC in designing strategies targeting to diminish skills gaps aim the whole of the EU, the aim of the project could not be treated only at national level as all the aforesaid affect the competitiveness of the EU as a whole in being a top performer in Agro- food sector adopted the SDGs.
Apart from the results outlined in subsequent sections, AGROS will manage to develop innovative Training Courses with methodology and tools for professionals working in the field of Agro-food sector and a space for all relevant stakeholders to exchange good practices about this specific field.
The project's expected results are the following:
-Change the way of thinking of different communities in the partner’s countries, to a morecomprehensive approach, establishing the food sector in one of the most attractive areas in EU. -Establish a new integrated approach to create real impact through a balanced and synergistic relationship between industrial development, academic research and innovation, and coupling private and public end-users requirements.
-Spread the seed, stimulate new and cutting-edge integrated activities and develop actions designed to successfully react to modern challenges.
-Boost the sustainable economic growth of the EU food sector, upgrading the services of the food environment, its resources and the cultural heritage in the most sustainable way.
-Offer new chances to implement professional skills of interest for the Agro-food sector.
-Boost self-employment, through the active empowerment of young people in with actions that support the effective implementation of the Investment Plan for Europe and foster the creation of economic activity with a special focus on them.
-Promotion of business initiatives for the sustainable development of rural areas.
-Enhance the human development, and ultimately achieve the global goals.
AGROS project is expected to have an overall impact on professionals working in Agro-food, VET providers, VET learners as well as local communities. The proposed project promotes the implementation of interactive activities to increase the necessary skills and expertise to address the modern challenges and to find new opportunities in line with the SDGs.