Course 2014: Promoting Sustainable Farming in Mountain Regions


In observance of the International Year of Family Farming, as 2014 has been proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, this year’s  IPROMO course will focus on sustainable farming  in mountain areas. After all,  mountain farming is largely family farming.

Throughout the centuries mountain farmers have developed sustainable farming techniques  by diversifying crops, integrating forests and husbandry activities, protecting the soils, applying conservation practices, using water resources wisely and respecting the carrying capacity of the land. Mountain agriculture has a low carbon footprint even if it has evolved in an often harsh and difficult environment. Mountain communities have farmed seeking sustenance from the land but also conserving the natural resource base and ecosystem services vital to downstream communities, both rural and urban.

Recently, global trends have started reducing the resilience of mountain ecosystems. Increasing population or outmigration, climate change, deforestation, desertification, market integration as well as changes in human values and aspirations are all affecting mountains and mountain communities.

Nevertheless, in a world increasingly aware of “green” quality and organic products, mountain agriculture can provide high-value and high-quality products that cater to increasing market demand and generate income for local communities. This growing attention to family farming presents an opportunity for mountain farmers to receive greater support and specific policy interventions. Several members of the Mountain Partnership are working on this topic at different levels. We hope that this course will be a step forward in promoting a better understanding of the value of family farming in mountain areas and will foster the development of appropriate policies and laws.



The course will be held in Ormea, Italy,  for about 30 officers, researchers and technicians from all over the world, providing a technical and scientific overview of the multi-faceted world of mountain farming.

It will focus on several features of small-scale agriculture in mountains, ranging from the economic and social aspects to environmental aspects, such as coping with climate change and landscape issues. Particular emphasis will be placed on local products with a field trip to Aosta Valley (in cooperation with the Institut Agricole Régional), where participants will see real mountain farming enterprises in action.  The effects of natural hazards and extreme events on mountain farming will be discussed during the course and working groups will be formed, allowing participants to share their knowledge and build networks of researchers/technicians.

Structure and Venue


The activities will start on 8 July 2014 with an overview of the course and end on 18 July 2014 with a closing ceremony; the course will include lectures, seminars, group work and a field trip. The lecturers will be experts from the UN system, universities, international organizations and NGOs. As in previous years, the activities will be organized by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat,  the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Turin, with financial support from the City of Ormea and international organizations.

Basic information



Scientific Director: Professor Ermanno Zanini - Faculty of Agriculture - University of Torino, Italy.

Technical coordinator:  Rosalaura Romeo - Mountain Partnership Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Rome, Italy. 

Official language of the course: English


Excellent command of English
Advanced scientific degree 


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