The final conference of the AGRILINK project took place on 10-12 November 2021. This Horizon 2020 research project aimed to better understand the role played by advisors in farmers’ decision making, based on a large number of farm surveys.
Many outcomes of Agrilink can be used in the i2connect project, in particular its approach centred on farmers and their local knowledge and innovation networks (referred to as “micro-AKIS”), the identification of triggers determining the adoption of innovations by farmers, a complete online course on the facilitation of living labs, as well as policy recommendations based on the gaps highlighted by the project.
The panel discussion on policy recommendations involved representatives of DG-AGRI and the projects AGRILINK, LIAISON and i2connect. These recommendations include the need for transparent and robust advice, training courses for advisors that meets the actual needs of farmers, addressing also the hard-to-reach categories of farmers and, finally, better integrating the various categories of advisors into the AKIS, including freelance advisors. This session also provided an opportunity to present the training activities conducted in the i2connect project, which focus on interactive innovation in the agricultural and forestry sectors and target various groups of actors: active advisors, their managers, other AKIS actors, as well as students who are preparing for these professions.
The discussions were lively and notably concerned the need to train students and advisors to listen actively to farmers and to adopt a holistic approach to farms; the efficiency of peer-to-peer learning at local, national and European levels, and the role of networks such as EUFRAS; the usefulness of reference and demonstration farms; the importance of the back office and teamwork within advisory organisations and also the division of roles between generalist and specialist advisor; and the importance of better connecting science and practice.
The resources produced by the AGRILINK project are available on the website: https://www.agrilink2020.eu/