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"New Agriculture for the Young Generation (NGNG)”

Crete, due to the long tradition in the use of these AFF, with its special quality characteristics, but also its unique biodiversity, is an ideal case for the application of innovations throughout the chain of production, processing and marketing of AFF. However, the arbitrary collection of their natural populations in conjunction with uncontrolled trade, has resulted in some species being threatened with extinction in many areas.

The program provided high quality education with the participation of professors from the GPA, specialized researchers from CIHEAM-MAICh and scientists from GPA with the main subjects being the production, processing and marketing of AFF, of particular importance for Crete. Despite the problems of the pandemic and the restrictive measures of movement and gathering, the program was implemented with 49 hours of live theoretical and practical training and 55 hours of distance e-learning, utilizing the electronic platform of the GPA e-class with the support of the GPA e-learning networks.

The end of this phase took place in a scheduled meeting on Friday 10/7/2020 at CIHEAM-MAICh in the physical presence of the trainees and via Skype for those who did not have the possibility of physical presence. The meeting was attended by the Director of CIHEAM-MAICh Dr. G. Baourakis, the Head of Action of the educational program Professor G. Economou and the coordinator of the action, PhD candidate Mr. A. Assariotakis.

The beneficiaries of the program presented very interesting business ideas for pilot products, designed and submitted in the context of their training, which linked innovation with tradition, quality, high nutritional value, special medicinal value and preservation of aromatic/pharmaceutical diversity. It is worth mentioning that the ideas were mature enough to create products with characteristics of high standards and local origin, while the first pilot product was produced, in the cosmetics field. Also, planning was done for the next phase and completion of the program, with the creation of a mother plantation from selected and identified endemic and indigenous species of AFF, in places that will be protected and maintained, in order to reproduce guaranteed propagating material.

The latter is also one of the main objectives of the AFF action for the certification of plant material and the certification of final products originating in Crete. The AFF Action of the NGNG program and the Director of CIHEAM-MAICh Dr. Baourakis look forward to the continuation of collaboration with the NGNG program, utilizing the potential and the training of the beneficiaries where, with the support of other bodies (Forest Office, GEOTEE, ELGO, KEFYE Crete, etc.), developments will lead towards the rescue of endemic and local populations of aromatic and medicinal plants of Crete with special nutritional and medicinal value.

The development of human resources and its specialized training is fully in line with the goal of the "New Agriculture for the Young Generation" program to create entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for young people in the agri-food sector. The pioneering program "New Agriculture for the Young Generation", which is implemented through an exclusive donation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and coordinated by Rutgers University in collaboration with the Agricultural University of Athens and the American School of Agriculture, extends its activities to Crete.

It offers free education and training programs in aromatic and medicinal plants, but also in sheep and goat farming, thus supporting the strengthening of the entrepreneurship and employment of the island's young people in the agri-food sector. Media communications: For further information, please contact: Anastasia Psoma, Advancement and Outreach Manager New Agriculture for the Young Generation TEL: +30 2310 471 292 MOB: +30 6974 087 244 email: anastasia.psoma@rutgers.edu