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Identification of Variables That Cause Agricultural Graduates Not to Return to the Rural Sector in Ecuador. Application of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps

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Department of Agroforestry Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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Nutrition and Community Health, Universidad Técnica del Norte, Ibarra 100105, Ecuador
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Department of Agricultural Economics, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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CEIGRAM, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Calle Senda del Rey 13, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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Department of Agriculture, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Quito 170520, Ecuador
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4270; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104270
Received: 5 May 2020 / Revised: 18 May 2020 / Accepted: 20 May 2020 / Published: 22 May 2020
In Ecuador, the factors that encourage agricultural graduates to return to the rural production sector are unknown. Therefore, this study seeks to identify the variables that influence why agricultural graduates do not return to the rural sector. Fuzzy cognitive maps and hierarchical clustering were used to achieve this. Interviews were carried out with academic experts from the rural development field and agricultural planning managers who work across 10 of Ecuador’s provinces. Eighteen categorized variables were identified in the study, of which five were strategies for agricultural development that involve different actors. These were: (1) State policies for rural development, (2) quality academic training, (3) innovation and entrepreneurship training, (4) national research and university extension programs, and (5) associative cooperativism. The identification of these variables supports state authorities and universities in designing strategies that promote the involvement of agricultural graduates in the rural production sector. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural graduates; quality academic training; state policies; rural development; fuzzy cognitive maps; Ecuador agricultural graduates; quality academic training; state policies; rural development; fuzzy cognitive maps; Ecuador
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Córdova, B.B.; Yagüe Blanco, J.L.; Satama, M.; Jara, C. Identification of Variables That Cause Agricultural Graduates Not to Return to the Rural Sector in Ecuador. Application of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4270.

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