New MSc in Organic Horticulture
Thu, 17 May 2012
A new MSc programme in Organic Horticulture is to be taught in West Cork from later this year.
The course, which is unique to Ireland, will be offered by the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) at a newly established teaching and research base at the Liss Ard Estate near Skibbereen.
The aim of the programme will be to provide students with both the scientific principles and the practical applications of organic horticulture, the growing of vegetable, fruit, herb and flower crops in a sustainable, environmentally protective manner.
Programme coordinator Prof. Peter Jones, from the School of BEES, said the research element of the new programme will be essential: “Because one of the factors holding back organic production in Ireland is the lack of targeted research appropriate to this country, emphasis will be placed on graduates being able to test new methods, cultivars etc. in a scientifically rigorous way, leading to a body of research knowledge from this programme of value to Irish organic growers."
The one-year, full-time programme will include the study of crop production and plant propagation; organic certification; organic methods of controlling plant pests and disease; plant nutrition and crop physiology; as well as research skills and business planning for organic growers.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Shane McEntee TD earlier welcomed the new masters programme saying “it will help to improve the knowledge base of the sector and to promote best practice”.
The Minister said the new programme was “a positive step towards providing the levels of expertise needed to develop the organic horticulture sector in Ireland to its full potential”.
Based entirely at the Liss Ard Estate, near Skibbereen, a maximum number of 15 students will be enrolled in the first year.
For further information, see the programme webpage.
Image: (L to R) Professor Peter Jones of BEES, UCC, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Shane McEntee TD and Roman Stern, owner of Liss Ard estate, Skibbereen, County Cork pictured during the Minister's visit to the location of the new MSc programme in October 2011.