Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Mediterranean Agro-ecosystems Management At a Press Conference held on 6 October 2005, the University of Malta launched the new undergraduate Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Mediterranean Agro-ecosystems Management in collaboration with University of Perugia, Faculty of Agriculture.

Present at the conference were the Hon. Dr Frans Agius, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Fisheries; Prof. Roger Ellul-Micallef, Rector, University of Malta; Dr Joe Mifsud, Director, European Unit, University of Malta and Dr George Attard, Director, Institute of Agriculture, UOM.

L to R: Dr George Attard; the Hon. Dr Francis Agius; Prof. Roger Ellul-Micallef; Dr Joe Mifsud.


Bachelor of Science (Honours)
in Mediterranean Agro-ecosystems Management

October 2005 sees the start of a new course of Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Mediterranean Agro-ecosystems Management at the University's Institute of Agriculture. To date, 35 students have been accepted on the new B.Sc. course of whom 6 are females.

The University of Malta, through its European Unit, has been the link in establishing very good contacts between the Hon. Dr Francis Agius and the Regione Umbria in Italy, through Sviluppumbria. Dr Agius has been on an official visit in Umbria during which the possibility of organising a joint degree by University of Malta and the University of Perugia in Mediterranean Agro-ecosystems Management was discussed. This cooperation between the two universities is a continued development of academic links that exist between the University of Malta and the University of Perugia in European Programmes and through the Compostela group of Universities.

The Institute of Agriculture is keen to respond to regional needs by offering a B.Sc. which will be attractive to countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea which face similar challenges within their agricultural sectors. A B.Sc. in Mediterranean Agro-ecosystems Management could eventually help towards the development of a Centre for Mediterranean Agriculture with the participation and contribution of North Africa, Near East and Southern Europe. The Institute is committed to the promotion of an enhanced quality of life in Malta and the Mediterranean Basin.

The curriculum for the new B.Sc. course will offer a balanced programme to meet the changes in the Mediterranean in areas of food, agriculture, agribusiness, natural resources, environment, individuals, families and communities. Future graduates will be in a position to address these challenges and take advantage of opportunities for Sustainable Agriculture in the Mediterranean region thus filling a vacuum in the regional market. Graduates would qualify to hold positions in national agencies, such as ministries, governmental departments, banks, farmer co-operatives, agri-food industries and international agencies.

In offering this programme, the Institute recognizes that a spectrum of disciplines, from the most fundamental to the most applied, is needed to address the issues. Because of the complex nature of concerns facing Mediterranean agriculture, a multidisciplinary approach is an important part of the portfolio. The Institute will collaborate with bodies from within the University of Malta, other European universities and acknowledged institutions. In the structure of the B.Sc., the Director of the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Malta, Dr George Attard and Prof. Francesco Pennacchi, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture are relying on experts from their respective departments. A Memorandum of Co-operation was signed on the 23 rd February 2005.

Institute of Agriculture

The Institute of Agriculture is a committed and active resource for Malta's future. With its broad portfolio of science-based knowledge, the Institute provides research, education and extension to address both existing and new challenges and opportunities. Its portfolio is strengthened through partnerships with other institutions, stakeholder organizations and governmental units. The Institute endeavours to forge stronger academic contacts with foreign agricultural institutions; such as universities, the FAO and CIHEAM.

Since 1993, the Institute of Agriculture has followed a carefully developed Plan of Action aimed at providing quality training to create expertise in various fields and to furnish the lack of available expertise within the governmental services. All graduates have secured career. While the largest employer is with central agencies, private sector and entrepreneurship have absorbed a fair amount. The need for tertiary education in Agriculture is supported by the fact that while both government and industry are constantly seeking to employ more graduates at managerial levels, the rural community is also in desperate need of expertise at farm level. The educational background of the majority of farmers (78.9%) is limited to only practical experience gathered in the field during their work. Only 3.8% of the total workforce declared to have undergone ‘basic’ training or ‘full agricultural’ training.

In May 2004 Malta became a full member state of the European Union. On the morrow of such a historical event, Malta’s agricultural sector had to find compliance within a new complex of rules and regulations. With membership changes in Malta’s agriculture, agribusiness, natural resources and human resources are occurring at a pace that would have been considered unbelievable only a few years ago.

The Institute currently runs a number of courses:

  1. Diploma in Agriculture
  2. Diploma in Water Operations Management
  3. M.Sc. in Agricultural Sciences
  4. M.Sc. in Agricultural and Veterinary Pharmacy
  5. M.Phil and Ph.D. in Agriculture.
  6. B.Sc. in Mediterranean Agro-ecosystems Management

The Institute was founded in response to recommendations by Dr Alessandro Bozzini of the Food and Agriculture Organization while on mission to Malta in 1988 to review the state of Maltese Agriculture and Fisheries. The Institute of Agriculture was established within the University of Malta in February 1993 by Legal Notice 20 of 1993.