The integration of CIHEAM member States into the Euro-Mediterranean free -trade zone will be initiated through an economic development process, aiming at the cohesion and complementarity of the domestic economy and the economy of the European Union in interrelated sectors. This process will lead to the reallocation of comparative advantage and social development to a new state of equilibrium among the partners involved in the process.
The Agricultural and Rural Sector of CIHEAM member States is crucial in this process. It has to be transformed in a way that meets not only the requirements by other sectors of the domestic economy but also it has to be compatible with the requirements of their major European trading partners.
A necessary condition to achieve these requirements is that this integration process would lead to the incorporation of the CIHEAM member States Agricultural sector to the European Model of agricultural and rural development as to achieve complementarity of the sectors and avoid trade conflicts.
Consequently, the concrete form of the European model for agricultural and rural development has to be properly perceived by the non EU member states decision makers, in order that they form the right policies and take the appropriate decisions as to optimize the benefits resulting from the Mediterranean free trade zone.
The EU has defined the foundations of such agricultural and rural development model within the following framework
- A competitive agricultural sector, which can gradually face up the world market without being over-subsidized, since this is becoming less and less acceptable internationally.
- Production methods which are sound and environmentally friendly, able to supply quality products of the kind that the public wants.
- Diverse forms of agriculture, rich in tradition which are not just output-oriented but seek to maintain the visual amenity of the country sides as well as vibrant and active rural communities, generating and maintaining employment.
- Sustainable rural development incorporating agriculture and other economic activities so as to create an economic and social environment conducive to prosperity.
- An agricultural policy which makes clear that the expenditures it involves are justified by the services which society at large expects farmers to provide.
In this model of European and Mediterranean Agricultural development, the policy and decision makers of the CIHEAM member states face serious challenges and big opportunities in the coming years. To say the least, the opportunities have to be identified, appropriate agricultural policies must be promoted, and the projects that take advantage of the benefits derived by the opportunities have to be implemented and managed efficiently.
In view of the above, and taking into consideration the demand for skilled personnel required to achieve optimal development process, the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute at Chania, Greece, during the last ten years, has developed its M. Sc. programs aiming at the education of executive and academic personnel of high caliber, able, to identify policies and opportunities, trained into the state of art in technology and general know-how at large.
The post-graduate programs concentrate to areas of knowledge and fields in which a great number of opportunities would be present while at the same time, the infrastructure, the latest technology laboratory equipment and the necessary personnel provide the skills that enables the exploitation of the opportunities. Thus the course work delivery required in their D.S.P.U (Advanced Post-University Diploma) and the intense research training to selected relevant topics in their M. Sc. year meet the required convergence conditions related to human capital development.
As a result, CIHEAM Chania M. Sc. graduates are given the ability to transfer the necessary knowledge and technological developments to their homelands, and through them to enable these countries to accelerate the process of their integration to the Euro mediterranean free trade zone in a way that is compatible and consistent to the European Model of the Agricultural and Rural Framework and at the same time to achieve optimal resource allocation and reap the benefits by this integration process.