The first press release is out ! Read it here:

Ministry of Rural Affairs of the Republic of Estonia

Future of vocational education in agriculture and rural economics discussed in Tartu

As a part of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, EUROPEA International will hold a conference titled “From Rural to Digital” on 21-24 September in Tartu, with representatives of vocational education and training institutions for agriculture and rural economics from 20 countries participating in the event. The main topic of discussion will be skills needed in the 21st century and the expectations for future workers.

According to the Minister of Rural Affairs, Tarmo Tamm, education in agriculture and rural life has to serve a purpose, be based on the needs of the employers, be forward-looking and ready to react to fast changes in society. “The question is, what are the things we have to teach and how, so that they would suit the changing labour market and future jobs, while being attractive to students,” minister Tamm said.

A day of presentations and discussions will be held today, 22 September at the AHHAA science centre, where an overview of the Estonian agriculture will be given by Ants-Hannes Viira from the Estonian University of Life Sciences, who will also be the moderator for the conference. After that, Rain Leoma and Karin Jõers-Türn from the Estonian Qualifications Authority will talk about the objectives of the Estonian occupational qualifications system (OSKA). The results and conclusions of the forestry and timber industry study and the on-going agriculture and food industry study will also be introduced. Kerli Požogina from the Information Technology Foundation for Education (HITSA) will present the activities of HITSA, talk about the e-Vocational School consortium, introduce the digital capacity assessment model for vocational schools and give an overview of the results of the self-assessments of vocational schools from last year. In addition, listeners will be given an overview on the possibilities of teacher education in Estonia. The education technology standards for teachers (ISTE), the ProgreTiiger programme and the eTwinning project will also be focused on.

The smart solutions of the sector will be introduced by Meit Jürgens from Agricon, Vallo Visnapuu from Timbeter and Robin Saluoks from eAgronom. After the lunchbreak, Helen Põllo, Head of the Vocational Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Research, will give a presentation on the current situation of vocational education in Estonia. After the presentation, Margus Muld (Väätsa Agro AS), Haana Zuba-Reinsalu (Luua Forestry School), Marge Kusmin (Smart Education System), Siim Krusell (Estonian Qualifications Authority) and Helen Põllo (Ministry of Education and Research) will be talking about the expectations on the workers of the future in agriculture and rural economics.

At the end of the day, after all the presentation, representatives of 20 countries will meet to discuss the future actions of EUROPEA International. Listeners will have an opportunity to visit local two businesses in the Tartu area – Grüne Fee and Plantex tree nursery.

EUROPEA international conference is organised by the non-profit organisation EUROPEA Eesti Keskus (EUROPEA Estonian Centre) and the Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia.

The EUROPEA International network is an organisation of institutions providing vocational education and training for agricultural, horticultural and forestry professions. It was created in 1992 and currently has 25 member countries. The goal of the network is to raise the levels of vocational education in agriculture, organise student and teacher exchange, help develop international cooperation projects, organise and support professional competitions and promote vocational education.

Estonia became a member of EUROPEA International in 2005. Estonia is represented in the EUROPEA International network by the non-profit organisation EUROPEA Eesti Keskus (EUROPEA Estonian Centre) that is a network for cooperation between representatives of the Järva Country Vocational Education Centre, Olustvere School for Services and Rural Economics, Luua Forestry School and Räpina School of Horticulture.

Web page of the conference:

Web page of EUROPEA International:

Press information: Kertu Kärk,


Sent by:

Kertu Kärk

Ministry of Rural Affairs of the Republic of Estonia

Public Relations Department

Preparations for the 2nd European AgrOlympics nearly completed

More than 100 young agricultural apprentices from around Europe will gather in Central Saxony next week. They all wish to participate in the 2nd European AgrOlympics, organized under the 20th Saxon Harvest Thanksgiving Festival from September 28th to October 1st 2017 in Burgstädt. 

Due to the special public and professional interest the Saxon State Office for the Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG) entrusted the Christian Social Training Institute Saxony e.V. Miltitz and the Agricultural College Freiberg-Zug (member of EUROPEA Germany) with the preparation and staging of the 2nd European AgrOlympics, funded by the Free State of Saxony. The competition is supported by the District of Central Saxony, the Agriculture School Döbeln, the officials of the hosting city Burgstädt and others involved.   

The participants will compete in the following practical disciplines:

  • 1  Reversing a trailer
  • 2 Splitting wood
  • 3 Tractor skill driving
  • 4 Piling potato boxes
  • 5 Balancing large straw balls (with tractor)
  • 6 Fencing
  • 7 Pressing apple juice
  • 8 Changing cultivator points
  • 9 Throwing hay bales onto a straw stack
  • 10 Piling small straw bales
  • 11 Adjusting a seed drill
  • 12 Changing Tractor wheels
  • 13 Building a water pipe
  • 14 Hand milking
  • 15 Laying a brick wall
  • 16 Spreading fertilizer
  • 17 Assembling a (mower) engine
  • 18 Estimating weights

The competition will take place on Friday, September 29th 2017 from 13h00 and Saturday, September 30th 2017 from 09h00 on the premises of the Riding Club St. Georg Burgstädt. The official award ceremony will be hosted by the Saxon State Minister for the Environment and Agriculture, Mr. Thomas Schmidt, on September 30th 2017 at 18h15.

The participants are divided into 20 Teams, from 19 different European countries. Apart from the hosting country Germany, which may send 2 teams, participants from Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia have registered. Every team consists of 4 competitors and one supervisor. Germany will be represented by a mixed team of competitors from the Agricultural College Freiberg-Zug and the Agricultural School Döbeln, as well as a team of agricultural college students from Stade/Lower Saxony, Güstrow/Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Rotthalmünster/Bavaria. A team of judges, consisting of technical college students from Zug and Döbeln as well as experienced teachers and trainers for agriculture, will judge the performances of the participating teams and declare a winner.

Since March, the organizers, the Technical College Center Freiberg-Zug and the Christian Social Training Institute Saxony e.V. Miltitz, have advanced the preparations of the AgrOlympics in numerous meetings with the local stakeholders and many supporters and nearly have completed all preparations.

We all look forward to good and fair competitions, a large audience and a great and peaceful festival of the youth in Europe.

By Gerd Alscher (Headmaster FSZ FG-Zug), September 20th 2017.


Agrolympics Portugal, which was started last year, is included in an important agricultural fair called Agrosemana, and will be held again soon in the north of Portugal.

This is a national competition open to agricultural schools all over the country. The aim for students is to demonstrate their technical skills; however, the competition is also looking for fair play, fun and exchange of experiences between the participating teams.

The event is coordinated by APEPA (Associação Portuguesa de Escolas Profissionais Agrícola) and it is sponsored by Agros, the most important Portuguese cooperative in the milk sector, and it is also supported by Fertiprado, an important firm of forages and hay.

This year the competition will take place on the 1st and 2nd of September, and again it will be an amazing opportunity for all the participants. The winners will travel to Germany for the 2nd AGROLYMPICS to compete with their European colleagues (see Events).

We leave you some photos of last year’s competition to awaken your curiosity to follow this year results.



For more pics click HERE.

Acknowledgements: many thanks to Rita (PT) 🙂



ANNIE in Romania

News about the progress of ANNIE have reached us recently coming this time from EUROPEA school Colegiul Silvic Transilvania Năsăud, Romania. ANNIE is an ERASMUS+ project that promotes Aquaponics (integrated fish and plant production) as a sustainable agricultural practice. The Romanian ANNIE team has set up a complete Aquaponics system at the school campus and will use it in education in the future. Congrats Romania!

Details can be read  on the ANNIE dissemination leaflet:

Aquaponics is a circular system where aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (plant breeding in water) come together. The cycle starts with the feeding of the fish to produce ammonia rich waste, which accumulates in the water. The effluent-rich water is essential for plant growth.

So, the waste water is pumped to the grow beds. The bacteria that is cultured in the grow beds helps to break down impurities and as a result, nitrogen remains, which is an essential nutrient for plants. The plant roots filter the water which now contains nutrients for the fishes, and is pumped back down to the fishes.

Aquaponics is sustainable because the food is grown locally and not from far flown. And without the use of pesticides and antibiotics, so it is even healthier and fresher.

Aquaponics also supplies ten times more food per square meter, with a minimum of water consumption.  This makes it ideal for urban areas and dry, nutrient-poor countries.   Aquaponics can thus contribute to future food problems, the reduction of CO² emissions and 9/10 may reduce the use of precious drinking water for irrigation.”

For more information click HERE or read our previous articles on ANNIE.

Acknowledgements: many thanks to Gioconda 😊