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Polytechnic School

Agricultural sector

Bachelor's degrees

In order to guarantee complete coverage of all the agricultural sector, the Polytechnic school offers two bachelor's degree courses:

  • Bachelor's degree in Agri-food Engineering. In this bachelor's degree, you can opt to major in farms and fisheries or to major in food industries, depending on whether you are more interested in agricultural and farming production or in food industries. This bachelor's degree has a cross-disciplinary approach that encompasses all aspects related to the industry, from the engineering discipline.
  • Bachelor's Degree in Food Innovation and Security. This bachelor's degree specialises in two current aspects: innovation and safety applied to foods.

The Polytechnic school at the University of Girona forms part of the Agrifood Campus of Girona and collaborates in teaching and research with some of the most prestigious research centres at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA), in the fields of the vegetable production, with the Mas Badia Experimental Station; animal production, with SEMEGA (specialised in ruminants) and the Centre of Control and Evaluation of Pork; and the food industries, with the IRTA centre in Monells, the Meat Technology Centre (CTC) and the Centre for New Food Technologies and Processes (CENTA).

The School believes that it is fundamental to maintain a close relationship with the business world in the sector and deliver courses as close to reality as possible. This relationship is clear both in the broad range of companies that form part of the Board of Trusteesas well as in the high number of companies with which student placement agreements have been signed (more than 80 companies and institutions in the agricultural sector).

In Catalonia, the weight of the agricultural sector is very important. According to 2011-2012 data, Catalan production represents more than 50% of the country’s total for apples and pears, 41% for pork and 26% for poultry. The agricultural industry is Catalonia’s main industry sector (18% of the total business volume of the industry). Catalonia’s agricultural industry is the largest in Spain (23.5% of sales volume).

75% of the Catalan food industry is supplied by agriculture and Catalan and Spanish stockbreeding, which gives an idea of the importance of the production sector as the great engine of the industry.

In recent years the agricultural sector is one of few to have withstood the economic crisis and it has even increased exports during these difficult years (since 2007, exports have grown 22.7%). Precisely in the province of Girona, 40% of exports are from the agricultural sector (double that of 20 years ago). In Girona, of the total exports in 2011, 25% correspond to the meat sector, the main driver behind Girona’s stockbreeding and agricultural industry.

Girona is a big player in the Catalan agricultural sector and is committed to the “from farm to fork” principle, supplying quality agricultural and farming production (Girona apples, Empordà oils and wines, Girona flour, quality meat...), going through a specialised transforming industry with a large number of small and medium enterprises and many artisans, to a large restaurateur sector, with world renowned gastronomical cuisine (up to 19 Michelin stars).

Professions related to green engineering (agronomy and forest), biotechnology and production and transformation of foods are among the four most in demand professional activities for the next 20 years, according to Forbes magazine.  According to this influential publication, the future of food and the challenges faced by humanity such as climate change, population increase or the lack of drinking water, make the work of graduates in food engineering, agronomy and biotechnology indispensable. 

In the next few years a reduction in the available surface area for agricultural crops and a price increase in foods are predicted. At the same time, rich countries are asking for healthier and better produced products. According to Forbes, all this will mean that professionals who know how to respond to these needs will have job security

Future challenges in the agricultural sector mainly relate to the following aspects:

  • Feeding a growing population (food demand is expected to increase by about 70% by 2050).
  • Managing the challenge of a sustainable planet, maintaining the difficult balance between production and environment.
  • Achieving high quality and healthy foods.
  • Adapting to new consumer habits and preferences.
  • Improving food safety and traceability in order to avoid public health issues.
  • Achieving less food waste.
  • Committing to research and innovation in the production and transformation of foods.

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