The development of fruit growing in South Tyrol: I. Agricultural education and professional training
Dalla Via J
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South Tyrol (northern Italy) harbours the largest continuous apple producing area in Europe, with an annual fruit harvest of around one million of metric tonnes. Every tenth apple produced in EU-28 originates from South Tyrol and this fruit thus represents the most important export product of this region, which contributes to 55 % of the added value from agriculture. The success of apple production depends on several key factors, one of which is education and professional training in agriculture and fruit production, and this topic is elaborated in greater detail in the present work. In 1874, the `Agricultural Institute and Experimental Station' in S. Michele upon Etsch/Adige was inaugurated as an institution for higher agricultural education and research for the entire territory of the historical Tyrol. The first vocational school for agriculture in South Tyrol was founded in 1909 in Sterzing/Vipiteno (later transferred to Dietenheim/Teodone nearby Bruneck/Brunico), but soon, with World War I, the agricultural education in German language collapsed completely and was re-established only after World War II. The work of the vocational school in Dietenheim/Teodone was pursued, and in 1952 opened the Vocational School for Agriculture and Forestry Furstenburg, in 1962 the Vocational School for Fruit, Viticulture and Horticulture Laimburg and in 1978 the Vocational School for Agriculture and Domestic Economy Salern. Increasing student numbers demonstrate the success of these schools. In 1980, finally, the High School for Agriculture in Auer/Ora nearby Bozen/Bolzano was founded and in 1999 started the Bachelor's study programme in AgricuAltural Technology and Economics at the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano. Nowadays, the agricultural education in South Tyrol is covered by a full range of school types ranging from vocational schools to university level doctoral studies.