As well known, livestock sector plays a multi-faceted role in socio-economic development of rural households. Livestock husbandry has significant positive impact on equity in terms of income and employment and poverty reduction in rural areas as distribution of livestock is more egalitarian as compared to land. In the recent decade, demand for various livestock based products has increased significantly due to increase in per capita income, urbanization, taste and preference and increased awareness of livestock nutrition. Livestock sector is likely to emerge as an engine for agricultural growth in the coming decades. It is also considered as a potential sector for export earnings. The rational animal nutrition is essential factor affecting profitability of animal production. Many livestock farmers still do not have the necessary skills in terms of innovation, diversification in livestock nutrition and development of local services what decrease the viability of such farms and consequently results in young people migration to the big cities for better social life. The farmers’ and animal production supporters’ actual knowledge, skills and competences are not sufficient and because of this reason they bear high costs resulting from inappropriate animal nutrition strategies affecting decrease in animal performance, quality of animal origin products and health and increase in quantity of undigested feed remains and metabolites excretion what generates high economic losses and negatively effects on natural environment.
There is a great necessity of the innovative and intelligible curriculum on Rational Animal Nutrition in Rural Areas addressed to livestock production supporters: VET teachers, trainers, tutors and VET institution managers, livestock farmers, rural development agents, animal breeders associations and feed additive manufacturers, nutritionists, diet formulators and livestock consultants. The aim of the project is to develop innovative and absolutely updated training materials on animal nutrition and feeds management. The needs of rural livestock breeders in participating countries will be defined and the curriculum and materials will be adapted to specific regional and national needs, add modules and chapter on further issues such as rational animal nutrition, health protection of livestock and protection and development of pasture, also healthy animal products, quality criteria in the meat and milk, scientific methods in the fighting against nutritional diseases, the use of renewable energy and the sustainable use of water and forage crops, and other major challenges for rural regions in Europe. Starting from the training needs analysis, based on the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) the target users will be directly involved in tests, under quality assessment. The international quality standard for training and further education (ISO/IEC 19796-1) is a reference process model for the design and building-up of a sustainable quality management system, for vocational education and training. The project supports acquisition of new skills through development and dissemination of key competencies in accordance with European instruments: EQF and ECVET. The substantial LIVENUTRITION project’s output will be e-learning platform and handbook The Rational Livestock Nutrition in Rural Areas.