In a world where global partnerships and knowledge sharing are key to progress, a pioneering initiative has taken shape in Greece. The first internship programme for professional farmers from India was recently completed with success, significantly strengthening the agricultural sector of both India and Greece.
A Strategic Partnership Unfolds
The origins of this project can be found in the official visit of the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, to Greece . His meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, at the Maximos Mansion on 25 August 2023, laid the foundations for a strategic partnership that will revolutionize the way agriculture is perceived and practiced.
The cornerstone of the partnership was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries, focusing on cooperation in the fields of agriculture and livestock. This agreement, which underlines the importance of research and innovation in agriculture and focuses on the central role of the agricultural sector in ensuring food security, economic stability and a sustainable future.
The Birth of a Unique Programme
The launch of the ‘Good Practices to Increase Milk Production in Indian Farms’ internship programme marked the first step in this visionary partnership. Designed and meticulously implemented by the University of Thessaly, SALAS International Group s.a. and JOIST Innovation Park, the programme addresses the specific needs of Indian farmers and herders in three key areas: livestock and dairy farming, agricultural technology and fisheries.
Immersive Learning in Thessaly
Στο επίκεντρο αυτού του προγράμματος βρίσκεται η εμβυθιστική του προσέγγιση. Δεκαοκτώ επαγγελματίες αγρότες από την Ινδία με γαλακτοπαραγωγικές κτηνοτροφικές μονάδες ξεκίνησαν ένα ταξίδι σε αγροκτήματα, εταιρείες ζωοτροφών και εργοστάσια επεξεργασίας γάλακτος και γαλακτοκομικών προϊόντων σε ολόκληρη τη Θεσσαλία. Οι επισκέψεις σε φημισμένες εγκαταστάσεις όπως η Φάρμα Γκόγκος και η Φάρμα Ντόντος στην Ελασσόνα, η Πρότυπη Μονάδα Εκτροφής Αγελάδων Γαλακτοπαραγωγής Καλέτσης και η εταιρεία ζωοτροφών NUPREMA στα Τρίκαλα εμπλούτισαν τις πρακτικές τους γνώσεις.
Οι κτηνοτρόφοι αυτοί είχαν επίσης την ευκαιρία να παρακολουθήσουν εξειδικευμένα σεμινάρια και διαδραστικά εργαστήρια στο Τμήμα Επιστήμης Ζωικής Παραγωγής και στο αγρόκτημα του Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλίας. Οι συναντήσεις αυτές τους εισήγαγαν σε τεχνολογίες αιχμής, σύγχρονα μηχανήματα και πρακτικές μεθόδους για τη βελτιστοποίηση των μονάδων τους και την αύξηση της παραγωγής γάλακτος.
The Graduation Ceremony
The culmination of this transformative journey was celebrated with a graduation ceremony at JOIST Innovation Park on Friday 1 September 2023. The Ambassador of Greece to India, Mr. Dimitrios Ioannou, awarded certificates of successful participation to the dedicated farmers.
The presence of distinguished personalities, including the Rector of the University of Thessaly, Mr. Charalambos Billinis, the Vice-Rectors, Mr. Ioannis Stefanidis, Mr. Spyridon Karamanos, Mr. Efthymios Providas and Mr. Ioannis Anagnostopoulos, the Governor of the General Hospital of Larissa, Mr. Grigoris Vlachakis, the Director and Head of Education of the French Institute of Larissa – French Embassy, Mrs. Chrysa Voulgaraki, the executives-representatives of SALAS International Group s.a., Mr. Manos Pavlakis and Mr. Vassilis Athanasiadis, the President, Vice President and General Manager of JOIST Innovation Park, Mr. Tasos Vassiliadis, Mr. Antonis Kiritsis and Mr. Vassilis Avramoudis, added a formal note to the award ceremony.
A Vision of Mutual Growth
The ceremony was introduced by Mr. Billinis, Rector of the University of Thessaly, said “It is very important that we have opened this channel of cooperation and exchange of knowledge, technologies and best practices between the two countries”.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Mr. Vassiliadis, President of JOIST, pointed out that the collective effort made this training programme a reality. He also stressed how the combination of experienced instructors, cutting-edge technology and modern equipment provided a comprehensive and engaging learning experience.
Ambassador Ioannou stressed the importance of this programme for the connection between Greece and India in the agricultural sector. He stressed the importance of mutual exchange of knowledge, with Greece offering its expertise and, at the same time, acquiring valuable knowledge from the professional farmers of India.
Strengthening Greece-India Ties for a Sustainable Future
This pioneering cooperation between India and Greece in the agriculture and livestock sectors promises to increase productivity, improve product quality and enhance competitiveness. It also opens the door to mutually sustainable development.
As the programme completes its initial phase, we expect a dynamic continuation in the coming months. New topics and training courses will further enrich the experience of professional farmers from India in Greece.
About the Organisers
Let’s take some time to identify the driving forces behind this transformative initiative:
The University of Thessaly is the third largest higher educational institution in the country, located in 5 cities (Volos, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa and Lamia) with administrative headquarters in Volos. It has 8 Faculties and 35 Departments, 99 postgraduate programmes in modern subjects, 12 Institutes in the University Research and Innovation Centre, 229 Laboratories and 97 Clinics and Units in the centre of Greece with easy access. It promotes knowledge through teaching and research, fosters innovation and contributes to cultural and economic development at local, national and international level.
SALAS International Group s.a. is a company that offers a comprehensive range of services in various sectors including the provision of integrated solutions in the humanitarian aid and food sectors. SALAS International Group S.A. specializes in the preparation of humanitarian aid packages such as food, hygiene, first aid, birth – emergency, educational, shelter kits, etc. for NGOs, International Organizations (EU, UN, etc.) or local Governments in order to relieve vulnerable social groups. The company’s International Certifications ensure the safety and quality of its services, as well as innovative carbon minimization technologies contribute to reducing the environmental footprint. With an extensive network of partners and 30 years of experience, SALAS International Group s.a. excels in providing innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of its customers.
The JOIST Innovation Park is developing a phygital ecosystem that fosters innovation and knowledge transfer through a strong network across Europe. It offers various services and spaces for networking, working and collaborating, producing and adopting innovation, training and business development. It enhances knowledge sharing and management, entrepreneurship, business impact and results, creates collaborative networks, contributes to the progress of the local community and inspires pupils, students and young people. Its dynamic community, the JOIST Community, consists of active and talented members, such as entrepreneurs, start-uppers, scientists, academic community members, and innovation enthusiasts. It welcomes all those interested in developing new ideas, products and services.
The first internship programme for professional farmers from India is a shining example of international cooperation in the pursuit of agricultural excellence. It is a testament to the power of knowledge sharing and its limitless potential for a sustainable future.