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About us

History of the course
The relationship between Florence city and Tropical Agriculture dates back to the last century, when the Italian Agricultural Colonial Institute (IACI) was founded in 1904 and, consequently, the first tropical specialization course for postgraduates in Agriculture was launched in 1913.
After the Second World War (1945), the IACI Institute became the technical agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) and was renamed Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare (IAO) in 1959. In 2015, the IAO was then dissolved and incorporated into the Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (AICS - Italian Agency for International Cooperation for Development).
Since the beginning, a strong collaboration has been established between the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Florence and the IACI/IAO/AICS over the years. In particular, in 1980, a four-year MSc degree course in Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture was started.
From September 2014 to 2018, the course was held in collaboration with IAO (now AICS), and at present time the course is fully managed by the University of Florence as an MSc course at the School of Agriculture - Department of Agricultural, Environmental, Food and Forestry Science and Technology (DAGRI).

Introduction to the course
Food and water security, climate change, access to agricultural markets, land grabbing, conservation of biological and cultural diversity, and valorisation of local traditions are some of the issues that hinder the development of rural areas in the southern countries. Therefore, effective rural development has to be contextualized and carefully assessed on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, while innovative technologies may support farmers in northern rural areas, sustainable measures have to be prioritized in southern and marginal areas, finding appropriate trade-offs between cost-effective innovations and local traditions.

The MSc (Laurea Magistrale) in Natural Resources Management for Tropical Rural Development  promotes research and professional training in the sectors of modern and sustainable agriculture, land and water management, and animal sciences. The MSc course identifies as preferential area of intervention the small and medium-scale farms in the South of the World, without neglecting the application of innovation technologies, while ensuring the environmental, economic and social sustainability and the respect of local populations and traditions.
The course lasts two years: a common first year and a second year with two curricula: 1) ‘Agricultural production’ and 2) 'Land and Water'.
Lectures are fully held in English by a team of professors having long lasting experiences in tropical agriculture and natural resource. The MSc itself and the School of Agriculture offer exciting activities for empowering cultural interchange among foreign and Italian students.
The preparation of the experimental thesis implies a period of field and/or laboratory work, including a mobility experience in tropical developing countries.

The mission of the MSc, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is to train experts in the technical and scientific fields of food production, environmental conservation, rural development, and land and water management.

Employment opportunities 
The MSc program is designed to train technical experts, researchers, project designers, and coordinators in the field of international cooperation for rural development, environmental management in tropical areas, and international marketing of livestock, crop, and forestry products.
The graduates can find jobs in:
  • Private companies that operate in food production and marketing overseas, with a special focus on tropical and subtropical areas;
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that work in development and cooperation;
  • National (Ministries), European (e.g., EEA, Copernicus), and international institutions (United Nations agencies such as FAO, WFP, IFAD, CGIAR, etc.);
  • National, European, and international institutions that are responsible for food safety in relation to international trade;
  • National, European, and international research institutions that work on agriculture and rural environment.

A gateway to a research career: graduation thesis and scientific publications
The Guidelines provide general information on how to prepare the graduation thesis. The research activity may have the opportunity to be published by scientific and technical journals, depending on the quality of the student's career and the scientific relevance of the graduation thesis.
The Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry of the University of Florence has a significant editorial activity, as it hosts the following international journals:
Examples of scientific papers derived from research activities in the frame of graduation thesis:
  • Using AHP and PROMETHEE Multicriteria Decision-Making Approaches to Rank Available Fruit Crops for Orchard Expansion in Nangarhar, Afghanistan ( Student: Mehdi Hassan Muhammadi; paper from a thesis conducted in Italy on the future of Afghan fruitculture.
  • Modeling-based performance assessment of an indigenous macro-catchment water harvesting technique (Marab) in the Jordanian Badia ( Student: Niccolò Renzi; paper from a thesis conducted in Jordan on a macro-catchment Water Harvesting system in collaboration with ICARDA.
  • Genetic purity of cacao Criollo from Honduras Is revealed by SSR molecular markers ( Student: Erick Ordones from a thesis performed in Honduras and Italy.
  • Berberis burruyacuensis O. R. Dantur, S. Radice, E. Giordani, A. Papini sp. nov. (Berberidaceae): a new species ( Student: Samuele Pedrazzani from a thesis performed in Argentina and Italy.




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