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Programmes

Taught in English, the duration of each CAS programme is about 7-8 months over which participants will need to dedicate about 10-12 hours of study time per week.

Each programme is organized around thematic topics towards practical ICM solutions. They are led by ICM experts from the co-organising institutions (CABI and the University of Neuchâtel) and feature interdisciplinary guest contributions from around the world.

We offer three fully online CAS programmes:

  • CAS 1: ICM – Sustainable Production Practices
  • CAS 2: ICM – Aspects of Implementation
  • CAS 3: ICM – Biological Control and Ecosystem Services

Each CAS counts for 10 to 12 ECTS. Each CAS is independent.

After successfully finishing all three CAS programmes, candidates can obtain a DAS upon completion of an additional technical report. The DAS then counts for 36 ECTS.

Please review the dedicated tabs below for further details for each programme.

For more information on the general format, registrations or completion criteria, have a look at the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.

CAS 1

CAS 1: ICM - Sustainable Production Practices

  • Topic 0: Introduction

    Topic 0: Introduction

    This introductory topic is divided in two parts:

    1. A general introduction will include information about the Moodle platform, the organizations, tutors and participants that are involved in the course and access to information through the University and CABI.
    2. A technical introduction into Integrated Crop Management (ICM).
  • Topic 1: Soil Management

    Topic 1: Soil Management

    The objective of this module is to introduce soil management principles and practices to reduce environmental degradation and enhance agricultural sustainability. A major emphasis is placed on soil conservation and methods for maintaining and improving soil organic matter and structure. Furthermore, soil management will be explored from a biological, chemical and physical perspective, emphasizing the complexities of soil and the need to design effective management practices that protect and enhance its beneficial properties.

    By the end of this module, students will be expected to understand these principles and practices and to be able to develop a sustainable soil management plan.

    Keywords: Soils: an introduction to chemical, biological and physical properties; Soil classification; Sustainable soil management & conservation; Soil management cases studies

  • Topic 2: Crop Nutrition

    Topic 2: Crop Nutrition

    The objective of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the strong link between fertilisation and many aspects highly relevant for ICM sur as growing a healthy crop, pest population development, soil biota and the general environment. In particular, detailed knowledge will be provided on essential nutrients for plant growth, as well as their interaction with soil factors and processes. Students will learn how to interpret soil analysis information and to determine the amount of fertiliser necessary for optimum yields and crop quality. Several crops will be explored in more detail to deepen the students’ understanding of the subject and also practical issues affecting fertiliser use will be considered such as fertiliser types, application methods and environmental factors.

    Keywords: Nutrient soil fertility; Fertilizers; Factors that influence fertilizer amount; Principles of calculation of fertilizer amounts; Crop examples; Importance of balanced fertilization for IPM

  • Topic 3: Water Management

    Topic 3: Water Management

    The agricultural sector is the largest water consumer worldwide and the available water resources are often used in an unsustainable way. The course discusses challenges in the context of the water-soil- agriculture nexus. Specifically, the following themes are discussed:

    • Water consumption in agriculture
    • Quality and quantity of water resources, including both surface and subsurface resources
    • Sustainable water resources management and agriculture
    • Irrigation techniques

    The course will clearly illustrate the relevance of water resources in the context of agricultural production. Some easy yet powerful quantitative approaches will be learnt that will allow to estimate water consumption of current and upcoming agricultural projects, and anticipate sustainability issues related to water consumption and agriculture.

    Keywords: Water balances, Groundwater, Surface water, Water supply, Sustainability, Irrigation

  • Topic 4: Seed/Planting Material

    Topic 4: Seed/Planting Materials

    The objective of this module is to introduce students to the importance of seed and planting material in ICM. It will provide a background to strategies for production of seed and planting material. In addition, it will introduce students to the importance and issues relating to seed quality and health. It will provide an insight into the complexity of factors to consider for varietal selection for seed and planting material. Furthermore, students will be introduced to local, national and international approaches of seed conservation and gain an understanding of seed certification and regulation at the national and international level.

    Keywords: Introduction to the importance and role of seed & planting material; Crop improvement: from domestication to the green revolution; Acquiring new material: traditional to enhanced strategies; Case studies in breeding; New frontiers in plant breeding; Seed systems and seed quality; Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture: policy and conservation

  • Topic 5: Integrated Pest Management

    Topic 5: Integrated Pest Management  

    The aim of this topic is to enable trainees to use integrated pest management as a system to keep harmful vertebrates, arthropods, diseases and weeds below economic damage levels. This will consider (a) the ecology of crops, their harmful organisms and their natural enemies, (b) local conditions, (c) environmental, economic and social aspects, and (c) the international, national and local standards, regulations and compliance criteria. Trainees will be able to diagnose plant health problems, and to apply decision-making tools for choosing the best pest management options.

  • Topic 6: Cropping Strategies

    Topic 6: Cropping Strategies

    The objective of this topic is to understand the agronomic impacts including the effects on soil quality factors of crop rotation. With the analysis of other relevant issues like profitability and risk of crop diversification and rotation, or more practical issues like advantageous crop sequences and technical feasibility, students will become familiar with the various aspects of this very important tool applied in ICM and IPM systems. Based on the theoretical background, students will learn how to develop rotation schemes that are adapted to the local conditions, thereby reducing weed, pest and soil related problems as well as optimising the nutrient balance in the field. In addition, the module will give an overview about other cropping strategies including intercropping, strip-cropping, cover crops and green manure.

    Keywords: Introduction; Agronomic impacts; Effects on soil; Profitability and risk; Meadows in the rotation; Planning crop rotations; Other cropping strategies

CAS 2

CAS 2: ICM - Aspects of Implementation

  • Topic 0: Introduction

    Topic 0: Introduction

    This introductory topic is divided in two parts:

    1. A general introduction will include information about the Moodle platform, the organizations, tutors and participants that are involved in the course and access to information through the University and CABI.
    2. A technical introduction into Integrated Crop Management (ICM).
  • Topic 1: Policy Considerations

    Topic 1: Policy Considerations

    The objective of this topic is to familiarise the students with policy considerations related to ICM at international, regional and national levels, and to understand how they govern and/or support the implementation of ICM. It will introduce some of the drivers for policy development. Students will become familiar with international agreements related to pesticides management, biodiversity, plant genetic resources, food safety, trade, etc. Case studies will be used to look at the development and implementation of policies related to ICM at regional and national levels.

    Keywords: Policy drivers; International frameworks; Regional policies; National regulations; Policy development

  • Topic 2: Agricultural System Implementation

    Topic 2: Agricultural System Implementation

    The aim of this topic is to enable trainees to implement agricultural systems under their local conditions. We will cover a wide breadth of systems, such as voluntary standards, national standards, and very local implementation types, such as producer clubs.  And we will show options on how to implement agricultural systems.

  • Topic 3: Agricultural and Rural Economics

    Topic 3: Agricultural and Rural Economics

    The main objective of this module is to understand some agricultural topics from an economic perspective. Students will be introduced to some basic concepts of economics, markets, agricultural policies, and environmental costs of agricultural production. Students will also learn how to compute farm profits and conduct benefit cost analysis to determine the financial viability of a farm business or project. The module will also provide a basic introduction to value chain analysis and assessment of the economic impacts of ICM interventions.

    Keywords: demand and supply; opportunity cost; profit maximization; agricultural policies; food price crisis; market failure; externality; tragedy of the commons; value chain analysis; gross margin, net present value; impact assessment.

  • Topic 4: Gender in agriculture programs and rural advisory services

    Topic 4: Gender in agriculture programs and rural advisory services

    The objective of this module is to help students develop skills on how to integrate gender in agriculture programs and deliver gender sensitive rural advisory services. It will introduce basic concepts of gender and social inclusion and the rationale for adopting a gender lens in agriculture development programs. It will provide students with basic approaches to improve the participation and benefit of women and other socially excluded groups from agriculture interventions and how to conduct gender analysis in agriculture programs. Students will also learn how adopt rural advisory service provision to meet the needs of both men and women farmers.

  • Topic 5: Experimental Design & Statistical Methods

    Topic 5: Experimental Design & Statistical Methods

    The objective of this module is to enable students to plan and conduct experiments relevant for ICM (being a knowledge-driven approach) as well as to conduct reliable data analysis. This includes the sound development of objectives, hypotheses, choosing treatments and targeting issues such as replication, randomisation, stratification, blocking, plot design, and more.  Participants will be introduced to the logic as well as the technical side of the main forms of both descriptive and inferential statistics, with a focus on the latter. Finally, students will learn how to report statistical results.

    Keywords: Experimental design; Statistical methods

  • Topic 6: Agricultural Extension

    Topic 6: Agricultural extension

    The objective of the topic to understand the role that extension services are playing for implementing Integrated Crop Management. It will provide an overview about the various approaches in agricultural extension that are used from governmental, private and other organisations. We will focus on some extension methods (including ‘lead farmers’, ‘farmer field school’, mass approaches) and see in detail how they are applied in the context of ICM and how they are supporting farmers towards implementation. Using case studies of agricultural extension, the impact of the methods and approaches will be further analysed and discussed.

    Keywords: Extension philosophies and methods, Demand-driven approaches, Face-to-face versus mass extension approaches, Plant clinics, Impact studies

  • Topic 7: Climate change and agriculture; towards climate smart pest management

    Topic 7: Climate change and agriculture; towards climate smart pest management

    The objective of this module is to highlight the impact that climate change is having on agriculture now and in the future and how countries are looking to address the issue of climate change and food security. It will illustrate what is meant by climate smart agriculture and why it is needed to combat climate change. It will provide information on what areas this covers and how it can help combat the impacts of climate change on agriculture. In addition, it will introduce the concept of climate smart pest management and how this approach addresses the key pillars of climate smart agriculture. It will provide an opportunity to explore how the changing climate will affect pests and disease, and what adaptation and mitigation strategies can be deployed to support climate smart pest management.

    Keywords: Climate change and agriculture: Climate smart agriculture: Climate smart pest management; introduction, : CSPM; Production and resources,: CSPM; creating an enabling environment.

CAS 3

CAS 3: ICM - Biological Control and Ecosystem Services

  • Topic 0: Introduction

    Topic 0: Introduction

    This introductory topic is divided in two parts:

    1. A general introduction will include information about the Moodle platform, the organizations, tutors and participants that are involved in the course and access to information through the University and CABI.
    2. A technical introduction into Integrated Crop Management (ICM).
  • Topic 1: Ecosystem Services (prevention of pest problems)

    TBA

  • Topic 2: Green Direct Control (augmentation biocontrol and other green methods)

    Topic 2: Green Direct Control

    The aim of this topic is to enable trainees to fully understand and make use of biological control for pest management in agriculture, including herbivorous arthropods, crop diseases, weeds and other pests.  This will help trainees to improve their skills in sustainable and integrated pest management as part of an integrated crop management approach and/or their skills in organic farming. We will consider (a) the ecology of crops, their harmful organisms and their natural enemies, (b) local conditions, (c) environmental, economic and social aspects, and (c) the international, national and local standards, regulations and compliance criteria.

  • Topic 3: Classical Biocontrol

    TBA

DAS

DAS in Integrated Crop Managment

After successfully finishing all three CAS-ICM programmes presented here, candidates can obtain a DAS upon completion of an additional technical report.

For the technical report, students will, in principal, prepare written ICM guidelines for a specific crop in a particular country. These guidelines should be preceded by an introduction in the form of a detailed literature review on the topic. The precise report topic and possible alternative content will be decided during the course period, in consultation with the supervisors.

Requirements:

  • the DAS must be completed within maximum 5 years after the first CAS
  • the DAS must be completed within maximum 6 months after the end of the third CAS
  • registration to the DAS can be requested only at the time of registration to the third CAS or after having successfully finished the third CAS. The programmes' board will confirm the registration only after that the candidate has successfully finished the three CAS.

 

 

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