26-29 April 2010, Montpellier, France
Scientific and Technical Information and Rural Development
Information scientifique et technique et développement rural
Highlights of Innovative Practices / Eclairages sur des pratiques innovantes
|iaald2010 web site
Theme 2: Targeted information products and services/ Produits et services d'information ciblés
Chair : Elizabeth DODSWORTH (CABI)
Structuring farm memory in Algeria: A way to promote partnerships between development stakeholders
1CCF, Algerie; 2ENSA, Algerie; 3ENSSIB, France; 4CIRAD, France
The socioeconomic context in Algeria has led to deep-seated changes in agriculture as well as to a major economic recovery programme. It has also increased and diversified farmers’ needs for information as they require new skills in management, production techniques, access to bank credits, government support procedures, etc. Information and communication have become the vector of performance for all stakeholders involved in the national strategy for reducing Algeria’s food dependency. Thanks to their new awareness, farmers are becoming a major social partner, able to defend their own interests, increase their yields, and make reliable field data available to policymakers, research organizations and those in charge of the public dissemination of information. The major challenge is now to link all steps of the developing process. One problem in Algeria is farmers’ limited use of documents concerning farm management, yet if farmers are to access State support and to conform with product traceability standards for exports, they need to use documentation rather than simply relying on oral communication, both as users and as producers of ‘farm memory’. In this context, this article analyses not only the information needs of farmers, but also the role of ‘farm memory’ as a key factor in defining research and agricultural extension strategies. Our innovative approach was to make the farmer a stakeholder in the communication process, rather than simply a recipient of information. A survey of 152 farmers in four regions in Algeria produced significant results concerning the needs of Algerian farmers for information in their dual role of information user and producer.
Rural Digital Bridge (RDB):Opening access to internet information for smallholder farmers in rural Kano State, Nigeria
Kura Smallholder Farmers Cooperative Society, Nigeria
This paper presents a consultant’s study of rural internet connectivity to guide strategies for smallholder farmers’ access to internet information, conducted in rural northern Nigeria in 2007. Conducted in two geographical locations in northern Nigeria 250Km apart and monitored in Kano, the study triggered the launch of a pilot project, the Rural Digital Bridge (RDB). A significant outcome of the study was the categorization of rural Internet connectivity for contactivity (in the Nigerian context) appropriately calibrated on a linear scale called the Rural Digital Connectivity (RDC) Scale. The real-time rural Internet connectivity situation is presented in five numeric graduations from bottom to top of the scale with 1.0 as full Internet contactivity while (-1) represents ‘Digital Vacuum’. Similarly, very important for gauging rural Internet optimization, the Rural Internet Optimization Indicator becomes useful. On the optimization indicator, three levels of the required applicable solutions to the rural Internet connectivity situation are presented as a percentage of full Internet connectivity for contactivity: (a) the Rural Digital Bridge (RDB)- primary digital infrastructure meant to open up the rural Internet pathways on the platform of Mphone potentials; (b) Rural Digital Cooperation (RDC), improving connectivity by using makeshift wire antenna in the village to make Mphone contact with RDB and (c) Rural Digital Inclusion (RDI), improving connectivity for the ‘digital vacuum’ domain to communicate directly or indirectly with RDB. All the three proffered solutions are based on Nigeria’s complex social background and ICT development status. The pilot RDB recorded incomes and food security success stories to date.
The information system of agronomic research in the interest of innovation. Towards a society of shared knowledge
1ENSV d’Alger – Doctorante enssib; 2ENSA d’Alger; 3enssib; 4Cirad, Montpellier
Agronomic research, the continuing source of renewal of knowledge is a strategic value in the development process. It helps to find solutions to complex problems in different areas, and to improve the economic and social welfare of the populations. A society is considered active when it is based on knowledge, and ensures its intellectual capital, now seen as equivalent to "the raw materials” in the industry. To subscribe to such logic for the use and transfer of their production, researchers need to develop tools for visibility and analysis of their activities, so that they become shared social goods. We are witnessing a phenomenon of proliferation of publication databases of researchers, of research projects, of experts, portals, and research centres etc. Algeria is severly constrained by insufficient agricultural production and thus needs to use its research results as a source of innovation and performance in its current strategy of reducing its food bill. Nonetheless, one of its constraints concerns the lack of tools to encourage the capitalization and the enhancement of its scientific output. In such a context, we present the results of a survey we conducted among 345 researchers in various cities across the country to measure the need to create a national plan of information about agronomic research. The assessment of the needs and the practices of Algerian researchers specialized in agronomic, veterinary and biological sciences, highlights an even more crucial need- the necessity to create an environment conducive to knowledge sharing for more collective intelligence, where research communities could interact with businesses and farms.
Harnessing ICTs in managing Southern African genebanks
Southern African Development Community (SADC), Lusaka, Zambia
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has a regional centre for preservation, management, and coordination of plant genetic resources in the region, based in Lusaka, Zambia. The SADC Documentation and Information System (SDIS) is used at the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC) and in the National Plant Genetic Resource Centres (NPGRcs) of each of the 15 SADC Member States. The SPGRC network has adopted international standards of plant genetic resources conservation and documents its information in a standard computerized format on SDIS which effectively facilitates decision making and taking action in genebank activities such as: registration, inventory of genebank collections, collecting priorities, regeneration and multiplication time, production of catalogues, distribution and exchange of germplasm. The system integrates information from the time germplasm material is collected from the field by in-situ personnel, it undergoes sorting, cleaning, drying by the ex-situ conservationists until when it is weighed, treated and packed in bottles for long-term preservation in freezers under -200 Celsius. All what is conserved short-term by the National Plant Genetic Resource Centres (NPGRCs) in each of the SADC Member State is duplicated to SPGRC for long-term conservation, part of which is again apportioned for safety duplicate at the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway. The SDIS captures data from both NPGRCs and SPGRC to integrate in into one regional database. To enhance ‘real-time’ updating and to improve communications between stakeholders, SPGRC is working towards connecting all NPGRCs to the Internet to be followed by the launch of a web-based SDIS that is currently under development. This paper elaborates on salient achievements and future plans of using ICTs in the management of plant genetic resources in the SADC region.
From author to reader: how a book finds the path to the intended audience
NHBS Environment Bookstore, United Kingdom
This paper describes the path a book takes from the author to the reader, and outlines recent changes in the publishing and bookselling industries, such as print-on-demand, self-publishing, discounting trends, and utilizing new trade channels. On this path, the functions of each player are explained: the author, the publisher, the distributor, the supplier, the bookseller, the library, and the reader. Efforts to shorten the path and the impacts on pricing and availability of books are shown in recent examples. The focus of this paper will be on printed publications, and all examples are of either botanical, horticultural or agricultural interest.
About the author
Anneli Meeder is a librarian who has managed several special libraries in Germany and Canada, and is now Operations Manager of a mail-order bookstore specializing in Natural History, Environment and Conservation, based in the UK. This paper is an attempt to pass on some of the “I wish I had known that when I was working in a library” thoughts that keep entering her mind. Anneli has been a member of the EBHL since 2006.
Extension services through Mobile telephony and internet: The National Farmers Information Service in Kenya
1Ministry of Livestock Development, Kenya; 2University of Nairobi, Kenya; 3Pyrethrum Board of Kenya; 4Private Consultant ;
The public extension service remains the most reliable for the 4.5 million smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fisher-folk in Kenya who form 13% of the total population. Current extension outreach is 2.1 million smallholders per year through Common Interest Groups (CIGs), Self Help Groups (SHGs), Extension Groups (EGs), field days, demonstrations, exchange visits and individual targeting. Hence, 2.4 million smallholders are still not reached yet they are Kenyans who have a right of access to public extension services. Innovative ways were needed to have most if not all farmers reached by extension services to enable them to make a positive contribution to agricultural productivity that remains the economic mainstay of the country. This is made possible by the positive response on the use of mobile phones by all Kenyans including the illiterate, young and old. Why not take advantage of this opportunity on telephone and internet technologies to reach this enthusiastic population to transfer agricultural information for enterprise production and marketing to contribute to strengthening food security and reducing poverty. Farmers easily get critical agricultural information for application at the right time that they need it. The National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS) is an electronically generated voice information service for providing farmers with agricultural extension packages through mobile telephony and internet. It is a Government extension service currently in English and Kiswahili languages with room to accommodate other languages. It is easy to use requiring minimal training. There are no extra charges beyond the normal telephone and internet charges. It can be updated with site-specific information by frontline extension officers. Quality assurance is guaranteed through in-built alerts. Feedback mechanisms are in place for response through emails. Farmers get agricultural information by dialling the NAFIS number (02047NAFIS – 0204762347) on their mobile phones. Detailed information is accessible browsing the NAFIS website www.nafis.go.ke.
The role of Community Knowledge Centres in enhancing agricultural and community development through information exchange
Nature Palace Fondation, Kampala, Uganda
Community Knowledge Centres (CKCs) are community-based facilities equipped with appropriate ICT tools to enhance information generation (from within and without – e.g. indigenous knowledge and market information on one hand, and research findings on the other hand respectively), dissemination and skills development for local communities in African developing countries. They are equipped with materials like books, newsletters, journals, research reports and electronically stored information that include CD ROMs and web-based resources. Mabamba and Lukwanga CKCs are such centres initiated by Nature Palace Foundation and Arid Lands Information Network with Environmental Alert, respectively. In both cases, community participation is key. Such knowledge generated is shared locally using leaflets and notice boards and also internationally using internet-based world space technology. In turn the communities are able to access information on markets, pests and diseases management, weather predictions and advice etc. Through this exchange communities have been able to find solutions to their pressing problems in agricultural activities like ‘peculiar’ pests and have been able to increase their profitability using market information provided. CKCs make the media, ICT tools and scientific research more relevant to the grassroots farming communities and provide good entry points for increased use of new research findings in agricultural development.
Adoption of organic agricultural technologies: Implications for radio farmer agricultural extension programmes in Nigeria
Agricultural Extension Department, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria
The study determined farmers’ adoption of organic agricultural technologies disseminated via a farmer agricultural extension radio programme broadcast in Imo state, Nigeria. An interview schedule was used to collect data from a sample of 200 farmers. Results show that radio broadcasts to farmers and co-farmers were the major sources of information to a greater proportion of the farmers than other means of information dissemination. Data on relevance of the organic agricultural technologies disseminated showed that almost all the technologies were perceived to be relevant, except the use of biological pest control farming. The radio farmer agricultural programme enhanced the extent of adoption of organic agricultural technologies namely; crop rotation practice, planting of indigenous varieties, application of compost, mulching of crops, intercropping, mixed cropping, crop residues, animal manuring, planting of legumes, green manure, off farm organic waste, minimum tillage and alley cropping. Nevertheless, adoption of the technologies was generally low. Age, farming experience and social participation significantly influenced adoption of organic agricultural technologies disseminated via the radio farm agricultural extension programme. Major constraints identified include the short duration of the programme, inappropriate scheduling of the programme, and lack of a facilty to interact with the radio presenter. Among other things, the study recommends the rescheduling of the radio programme to very late in the evenings when the farmers will be able to listen to the programme.
The Rural Information Center serving communities in the United States
United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library, United States of America
The Rural Information Center (RIC) is one of seven information centers within the National Agricultural Library (NAL). NAL is one of four national libraries within the United States housing one of the world’s largest and most accessible agricultural information collections and is part of the Agricultural Research Service, the principal scientific research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). RIC was established in 1987 and is mandated through United States legislation to provide informational services to rural areas. RIC assists rural communities by providing information and referral services that include planning, funding, training, research, and best practices through: customized information products to specific inquiries; a rural Web portal; Web 2.0 services such as RSS feeds; preservation of rural information through digitizing projects and referrals to subject specialists. The center’s target audience includes: local, tribal, state, and federal government officials; organizations; libraries; researchers; businesses; farmers and citizens working to maintain the vitality of America's rural areas. In addition, RIC provides assistance with presidential initiatives, public outreach campaigns, and departmental projects and has served as a rural information programme model internationally. Currently, RIC has embarked on a five-year beginning farmer and rancher project, assisting in the assurance of national and global food security by increasing sustainable small farms within United States. RIC is also engaged in a partnership with the National Library of Medicine to provide leadership on national and global health concerns by addressing the information needs of public health workers. With over 20 years of experience, RIC has learned that collaboration is the key to a successful information programme. In order to reach a diverse audience, cover numerous subject areas, and survive in lean budget years, RIC works together with other public and private entities to achieve its mission of providing information services to rural communities.
Gest-Oli: using ITC in the olive oil industry
Fundació Ibit, Spain
Olive oil is one of the most representative products of the Mediterranean diet, and therefore it is not surprising that many producers focus their efforts on providing quality guarantees to their products. For this reason the appellation of origin "Oli de Mallorca" was established in the Balearic Islands in 2002 . The regulatory bodies managing the oil produced under this flag establish a series of requisites, as well as defined protocols. In this way, the whole process has to meet health regulations, as well as oil traceability. This process was typically done on accounts books where all the oil was registered, so the process could be controlled by different regulatory bodies and Administration. This task was difficult, cumbersome and slow, so a new project called Gest-Oli was launched. It aims to streamline the entire process of documentation and control of oil production. This project involves the development of a software application based on web environment where all actors involved in the production process (authorities, regulatory board, and companies producing olive oil, packers and traders) can monitor and control the evolution of the production, from collecting the olive to marketing. In this sense we can say that this control allows knowing the status in real-time of the harvest, and thus may provide effective control policies, promotion and marketing, as well as immediate control of traceability in the case of a health alert. Furthermore, the system integrates with e-government, which provides the facility to manage all mandatory paperwork from home. Finally it is important to mention that the system strengthens safety to the end consumer, as it allows traceability of the products on Internet automatically.
Is there a future for the conventional abstracting and indexing services?
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, United States of America
This paper will explore whether there is still a need for subscription A & I services in this electronic environment. With multidisciplinary databases like Google Scholar, ScienceDirect records and other databases added to Worldcat.org, etc., are freely available on the web, this presentation will explore their relevance to users in academic settings. It will present findings from a study done at the University of Arkansas for their preferences of information sources in this context. With audience participation, it will explore the factors that may be needed for continued survivial of these services.
Decision support system in French agriculture: The need for information exchanges
1Acta Informatique, France; 2Acta, Toulouse, France; 3Acta, Paris, France; 4UMR AGIR, INRA, Toulouse, France
ACTA is leading a network of agricultural researchers (RMT Modelia) that is developing models in French R&D Institutes. Within this network, we performed a survey of models developed by Agricultural organizations. These models are many, and only a few of them are really used either by farmers or by their advisors.
Within a new R&D project called GI-E-EA (Gestion de l'Information "Environnement" de l'Exploitation Agricole (Management of’ environment’ Information of farm), ACTA Informatique and its partners are trying to perform a survey of information used by the above models, and to check whether or not information used by these models is already input into (or may be computed from) farm internal Information Management Systems. We believe that the Decision Support Systems developed since the end of the eighties are not really used because they make it necessary to input several times much information already managed by farm accounting systems or farm technical tools. We are verifying that many data required by models are already included in farm Information Management Systems and will develop the message that will be exported from these internal systems to models running on servers of e.g. our R&D organizations. In this paper, we will present the activities of the Modelia network together with the first results of the GI-E-EA project.
We will discuss the environmental traceability that farmers may have to manage together with the physical traceability of their products.
Agropolis International publication - ISBN 978-2-909613-03-1