In line with the European farm sector, the future is represented by the Precision Agriculture (PA), which is not a technology, but a new approach and a network of different technologies (digitalization, metadata, Internet of Thing, IT, etc.) that can be adopted in agriculture. In order to embrace this approach a new professional role is required, the so-called agripreneur 4.0: a farmer who combines agricultural skills, entrepreneurial skills and the knowledge of PA technologies. SPARKLE, acronym for Sustainable Precision Agriculture: Research and Knowledge for Learning how to be an agri-Entrepreneur, is a Knowledge Allinace project, financed within the framework of ERASMUS+. The partnership is composed of 4 Universities (University of Florence, Politechinic of Madrid, University of Evora and Agircultural University of Thessalonik), 3 farmers adopting PA technologies (Marchesi Mazzei – Italy; Quinta da Cholda – Portugal; RAzos Brand – Greece) and 4 companies or research centers involved in the precision agriculture ecosystem (AgroSap – Spain; CSIC – Spain; Erre Quadro – Italy; ValueDo – Italy).
SPARKLE takes on the challenge to fill the gap between entrepreneurship and effective application of the sustainable precision agriculture (SPA) among research, agricultural enterprises (SME) and students. One of the aim of this project is to link together research, SPA farmers and students to develop a new blended training program (e-learning courses and classes) for the purpose of building farmers and agriculture’s business manager of the future.
The project will contribute to build a methodological and a theoretical framework for future-oriented agripreuners and will collaborate with the development of e-learning based educational solutions, in order to facilitate the accomplishment of a new awareness and maturity levels among SME, students and educators concerning technologies, business and innovation in agriculture.
SPARKLE partnership is focused on Mediterranean countries and it’s the result of a cooperation between universities and farms from Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal which have already adopted PA technologies.
In the short period, the project will provide knowledge and skills to universities by training more students on SPA technologies and business. Consequently, it will be possible for students to have the chance to handle a real experience with enterprises skilled in SPA. The project also aims to teach students and agripreneurs to capture and develop SPA business ideas. That’s why the enterprises will have the occasion to get involved directly in training and the opportunity to interact with students.
In the long period, the project outputs will increase impact trough synergies among educational offer of University and enterprises, extending higher educational offer trough the crossing over between new technologies in agriculture and new business models.