IAALD XIIIth World Congress
organized by Agropolis International

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 4 : Integrated information systems / Systèmes d'information intégrés


Chair : Ajit MARU(GFAR)
Rapporteur : Valerie PESCE(GFAR)

The Global Plant Health Centre: Building a Surveillance and Knowledge System


CABI, United Kingdom

Millions of dollars are lost each year to the impact of plant pests and diseases. Plant pest and disease distributions are changing rapidly due to climate change and trade flows. Industry, academia and government need to track these changes but are faced with pest data that tends to be widely dispersed, is non-specific in nature, of variable quality, and with only general in-country locations provided. Meanwhile, farmers’ livelihoods are worsened by the loss in yield and hence income.

For almost 20 years, CABI has developed a network of Global Plant Clinics to address this issue, and is committed to a rapid and extensive scale-up of its operations. Clinics offer a simple yet powerful mechanism to help countries address the MDG issues of food security and improved livelihoods, providing a focal point where farmers can bring plant health problems for diagnosis by CABI-trained plant doctors underpinned, where necessary, by international diagnostic laboratory services.

Feedback from the clinic network has given CABI a unique source of information on what is being seen at the local level, in terms of pest presence, pest migration, and new pest threats. It is clear, that with enough critical mass of plant clinics, the potential exists for a global early warning plant health surveillance system. Resultant intelligence, combined with other CABI and partner data, is to populate an integrated global plant health database, now under early phase development. The database will enable pest alerts, risk analysis, predictions of occurrence and real-time geo-specific disease maps plus an inventory of knowledge on pest management approaches, SPS legislation and extensive plant health data and images from CABI and other partner organizations.

The presentation will describe CABI’s goals and objectives, and how the database will serve governments, industry, extension workers and rural farmers grow more and lose less.

ABRAHAMS-2010-The Global Plant Health Centre-IAALD-Congress-201_b.pdf


A monitoring system for preventive control of Desert Locust in West Africa.

Vincent BONNAL1, Saïd LAGNAOUI2, Thomas DOLLEY3, Jean-Philippe TONNEAU1, Michel LECOQ4, Jean-Michel VASSAL4

1CIRAD, UMR TETIS, France; 2Centre National de Lutte Antiacridienne d'Aït Melloul, BP.125 Inezgane, Maroc; 3CIRAD, DSI, France; 4CIRAD, Acridologie, France

Agricultural pests like the Desert locust, -Schistocerca gregaria-, often migrate across borders and cause major losses and emergencies. In the past, such damage often led to famines and sometimes triggered trade restrictions. An international preventive strategy is currently recommended in each country on early warning and reaction capacities. As a result, the extent and frequency of invasions were considerably reduced during the last 50 years. However, countries are frequently unable to react sufficiently quickly to nip outbreaks in the bud, and late extensive emergency operations, with large use of pesticides as well as international assistance, became necessary. The Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES, Desert Locust component) was established by FAO in order to minimize the risk of such emergencies. In western and northern Africa, EMPRES was implemented in 2006 to develop a more effective early survey and a better preventive management of Desert locust populations in their reproduction areas. Enhancing national capacities and building a common system for monitoring each national preventive control was considered as a priority. Such a tool was developed by French CIRAD in 2009 and is a main component of the "National Locust Risk Management Plans". This software, using a simple web interface, is built around a database. All data from 10 West African national Locust control units, about infrastructures, materials, human resources and financial means, were collected and organized in the database. The frequency of the updates is connected to the nature of information, from 3 to 12 months and performed at the country level. Real-time consultations, codifications and outputs are made easily by the internet. This system allows a real-time collection/dissemination of information and a better organization of preventive control at the regional level which are key points to improve management of Desert locust risk.

BONNAL-2010-A monitoring system for preventive control-IAALD-Congress-264_b.pdf

The LIMS Community and its collaborative Livestock Information Management System for managing livestock statistics and sharing information in the SADC region (Southern African Development Community)

Pascal BONNET1, Berhanu BEDANE2, Krishan J. BHEENICK2, Xavier JUANES1, Benoit GIRARDOT3, Caroline COSTE3, Cyrille GOURMENT3, Gift WANDA2, Welbourne MADZIMA2, Gerard OOSTERWIJK2, Thierry ERWIN3

1CIRAD, ES UPR18, France; 2SADC FANR, Botswana; 3CIRAD, DSI, France

The paper aims at presenting the SADC collaborative LIMS (Livestock Information Management System). The system demonstrates new ways for collating fragmented livestock statistics and sharing information in a regional economic community.

The system was developed in the context of the integration of a regional economic community. The initial problem stated that stakeholders of the region and in the sector were not sharing enough information, because of accessibility problems, fragmentation of dataset lying under the responsibility of too many stakeholders, or sociological and institutional barriers. To overcome such problem, an information system was designed based on collaborative principles and components.

The system is ruled by international standards on contents or for exchange protocols and on observation of social behaviour. It is firstly based on an institutional alliance, i.e. a LIMS community made of a variety of stakeholders from the region. This community is made of actors in the livestock sector who decide to collaborate to collate and aggregate their information and knowledge in a common system.

Secondly quantitative contents were standardized by the community to comply with the various geographical observation units or temporal scales used in countries and to allow interoperability and complementarily between the various sources of information.

Thirdly LIMS Standards Operating Procedures for information exchange were also agreed upon in a collective manner.

Finally the system also encompasses a series of collaborative software which have been organized to achieve specific communication or information management functions. It has a database for collating quantitative statistics, supporting the various technical channels for information exchange (off line and online, vertical and horizontal interoperability for exchange of contents). It uses content management systems (CMS) and various WEB 2.0-derived tools all gathered under a web portal (WMS and Geoclips, WIKI manuals, Dgroups fora) to publish data, collectively discuss topics or edit documents.

BONNET-2010-The LIMS Community and its collaborative Livestock Information Management System-IAALD-Congress-252_b.pdf


Planning for long term sustainability of an open access global database

Elizabeth Ann DODSWORTH1, Peter SCOTT1, Hilda DIAZ-SOLTERO2

1CAB International, United Kingdom; 2National Invasive Species Coordinator, USDA, USA

In 2002 a gap in the world’s knowledge in invasive species was identified by USDA. Increased trade, changing environmental patterns and increased travel have created opportunities for organisms, plants, animal and micro-organisms to move into new habitats. This movement may adversely affect health of indigenous plants and animals and local biodiversity. USDA, in partnership with CABI, are working together to design and develop an encyclopaedic database of all known invasive species all genera, except human pathogens. The database will be important an important tool for those working in agriculture, biodiversity and the environment. To be effective in supporting people to manage invasive species it is important that everyone who needs to will be able to access and use it. Since 2002 other governments’ agencies and private sector companies have joined USDA and CABI in working on this initiative. This paper describes the consortium model and the planning phases of the database of invasive species, and importantly highlights the decision making process, business case and business model for opening access to all.

DODSWORTH-2010-Planning for long term sustainability-IAALD-Congress-260_b.pdf

The Linnaeus Link Project

Gina DOUGLAS1,2,3

1Linnean Society of London, United Kingdom; 2European Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Group; 3Linnaeus Link Project Partners

The Linnaeus Link Project is an international collaboration between libraries with significant holdings of Linnaean material providing free access to an online Union Catalogue of Linnaean publications. It is an information portal for those seeking primary sources for the identification of plants and animals which still relies on the use of Latin genus and species names for internationally recognised identification tags. Examples of their importance can be seen in the need to identify invasive species or biological control agents. Nomenclature has its starting points in the publications of Carl Linnaeus, with the texts of the Species Plantarum of 1753 and Systema Naturae of 1758 providing a base line for plant and animal names. Access to such early texts is inevitably restricted with existing copies often not fully catalogued due to the bibliographic complexities of these works. This project provides information on location of copies, good bibliographic sources and also identifies publications now available in digital form. The project has been in existence for 10 years and the Linnaeus Link Union Catalogue is now available online with 1680 separate bibliographic records. Information on sources of Linnaean publications is now being harvested from The Linnean Society of London, The Natural History Museum, Royal Library: National Library and Copenhagen University Library, Uppsala University Library, Botanic Garden and Botanic Museum Berlin-Dahlem and The British Library, with expected input shortly from the New York Botanic Garden and the Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève and other libraries in the UK and USA. Planned enhancements of the catalogue software will facilitate both searching and the harvesting of records and link direct to digital copies. Links to the Biodiversity Heritage Library and other on-line resources will help to speed access to key texts and support the needs of taxonomists serving all life sciences.

DOUGLAS-2010-The Linnaeus Link Project-IAALD-Congress-244_b.pdf

From databases to information flow: CIFOR and seamless integration of information systems


Information Services Group, CIFOR, Indonesia

Seamless Integration of Information System – SIIS – is a project for managing institutional information and an effort to harness strategic information systems as a competitive bargaining strength. The project was to answer the requirements of sharing information to both internal and external stakeholders, where integration of information is a must and requires a holistic perspective and approach which synergistically integrates all functional area concerns in a systematic fashion.

The overall project was scheduled to take place in several phases from 2008 to 2010. The first phase aimed to re-engineer, replan and redesign the existing information systems into a data warehouse to serve all organizational needs. Six databases were integrated during the first phase; HR4U, publications database, publications inventory system, programme development database, research tracking system, and our GIS system. Phase I was also proposed as a model for further integration across all decentralized databases and information systems at CIFOR.

SIIS is not just talking about the system but also considers the IT triangle indicator - people, process and technology. This paper summarises the background and aims of this 9-month project, achievements and the options identified for taking the initiative forward. Although undoubtedly capable of further development, the implementation of fully SIIS is facing many challenges and need support from the whole organization.

ERLITA-2010-From databases to information flow-IAALD-Congress-159.pdf


Innovative information systems enabling public research organizations and the livestock industry in France to share animal health resources and skills

Marie-Colette FAURÉ, Etienne ZUNDEL

INRA, France - Département Santé Animale, France

The Animal Health Division (AHD) of Inra (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) uses information about animal health and veterinary public health as a tool in its overall strategy; it has developed an innovative current awareness system, obtaining reliable information through networks.

The role of AHD lies at the heart of society’s animal health and veterinary public health concerns, fostering organized and continuous links with the livestock production industry in France. As part of the socio-professional partnership, AHD has set up systems for strategic guidance and collaborative tools on the Internet. Among them: CERISA, the Animal Health and Veterinary Public Health Portal and VeliSA– French language documentation and literature current awareness .

CERISA : This carefully targeted portal is the main gateway to resources and expertise in the field of animal health and veterinary public health in France: selected animal health resources; operational mapping of the veterinary public health scene in France, taking into account players, territories, pathological entities and production chains; a “partners” area for the development of collaboration between players. www.sante-animale.eu

*VeliSA*: this intelligence system collects information on animal health from articles published in the professional press and specialized scientific and technical colloquia. The information is stored in a database, which can be accessed on the Internet. This database contains articles from more than 40 journals with proceedings of symposia since 2000. www.toulouse.inra.fr/velisa

These information systems require the development of original tools based on the latest web technology (RSS feeds, geolocation, etc,). The current systems involve a new way of managing information with emphasis on quality: available data are consolidated, put into context, interlinked, classified (by key words, competences or themes). It is of considerable help to provide animal health reference material, highlighting the Division’s expertise, and providing useful information in the field.

FAURE-2010-Innovative information systems enabling public research organizations and the livestock industry-IAALD-Congre_b.pdf


Knowledge sharing on best practices to manage crop genebanks

Maria Alexandra JORGE1,2, Geert CLAESSENS1, Jean HANSON2, Mohamed Ehsan DULLOO1, Elizabeth GOLDBERG1, Imke THORMANN1, Selam ALEMAYEHU2, Esther GACHERU2, Ahmed AMRI3, Erica BENSON1,4, Dominique DUMET5, Nicolas ROUX1, Per RUDEBJER1, Ruaraidh SACKVILLE HAMILTON6, Ines SANCHEZ7, Shivali SHARMA8, Suketoshi TABA9, Hari Deo UPADHYAYA8, Ines VAN DEN HOUWE1

1Bioversity International, Rome, Italy; 2ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 3ICARDA, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Aleppo, Syria; 4Damar Research Scientists, Cuparmuir, Fife, UK; 5IITA, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria; 6IRRI, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines; 7Africa Rice, Cotonou, Benin; 8ICRISAT, International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, India; 9CIMMYT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico city, Mexico

The Crop Genebank Knowledge Base (CGKB) is an initiative of the Consultative Group of International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) System-wide Genetic Resources Programme (SGRP). The CGKB was created for sharing knowledge about best practices for managing plant genetic resources (PGR), and making effective decisions about genebank management. Genebank practices from CGIAR Centers and national genebanks were gathered for nine crops (banana, barley, cassava, chickpea, forage grasses and legumes, maize, rice and wheat). This information will help PGR professionals to participate in a global crop conservation effort. An interactive approach with many partners and stakeholders was used to gather published and unpublished information about genebank management. Information on crop-specific best practices was initially collected from crop experts using pre-defined forms. In parallel, a web portal was developed using the open-source content management system (CMS) Joomla!. The CMS allows several editors to maintain pages and update them. Other participatory tools such as wiki pages, a blog, a discussion forum and online forms have been set up to gather future contributions, including information on other crops. The site provides a one-stop platform for information on conservation, characterization, regeneration and safety duplication of each of the nine crops. It also provides information on general (non-crop-specific) genebank management procedures as well as a comprehensive bibliography of online publications, a glossary, links to relevant external websites, video and photo materials, and training modules. Important features for success, challenges and major lessons learned are presented, and options for the way forward are discussed.

Final paper published in Agriculture Information Worldwide (AIW) Vol. 3 No. 2
JORGE-2010-Knowledge sharing on best practices to manage crop genebanks-IAALD-Congress-180_a.pdf (slides)

Determining the quality factors of the web portal of an agriculture educational institute in Iran


1ITVHE, Iran (Islamic Republic of); 2IHEC, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Not attending

Most of the agriculture educational institutions in Iran are in public sector. ITVHE was the first institute in Iran which took the responsibility for commencing technical and vocational higher education in agriculture sector. Until recently due to the subsidies paid by the government for higher education student recruitment was not a major problem for the universities. After the initiation of privatization plan by the government based on 44th article of the constitution, a competitive environment has emerged. Thus, having a quality web portal became necessary for some reasons like decreasing the expenditure, recruiting more students, providing better services to students and a good reputation in the society. At present ITVHE have 25 active sub-portals among its branches which are scattered all over Iran. For the sake of evaluating the quality of the web portal a research project has been proposed for determining the factors which are effective on the quality of the so called web portal. The researchers used a qualitative approach in their methodology. For the purpose of designing an analytical model many quality frameworks and models have been studied thoroughly. At last and based on the trilateral aspects of the institute, i.e. being educational, public sector and Iranian, four models and frameworks were selected as well as a set of quality factors (based on the initial study). Several focus groups, consisting of students, lecturers and managers, were developed according to the research population. The quality factors, then, were examined in the focus groups and at last the final set of quality factors has been determined.

MOKHTARI ASKI-2010-Determining the quality factors of the web portal of an agriculture educational institute-IAALD-Congr_b.pdf

The CIARD RING, an infrastructure for interoperability of agricultural research information services

Valeria PESCE1, Ajit MARU1,Johannes KEIZER2

1Gobal Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), Italy); 2Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Creating integrated information services in agriculture giving access and adding value to information residing in distributed sources remains a major challenge.
In distributed architectures, value added services by definition interface several information sources / services. Therefore value added services cannot be built without an awareness of what others have done: which sources are available, how to tap into them, how to exploit their semantics.
The Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD) Routemap to Information Nodes and Gateways (RING) is a portal offering an interlinked registry of existing information services in agriculture.
The CIARD RING covers both information services and sources: in nowadays information architectures, the distinction between the two is very fluid. In the RING, the definition of "service" includes any form of providing information from one server instance (website, mail server, web services, XML archive...) to many clients (browsers, email clients, news readers, harvesters...)
The services registered in the RING are described in details and categorized according to criteria that are relevant to the use of the service and its interoperability. The RING categorizes and interlinks the featured services according to criteria such as: standards adopted, vocabulary used, technology used, protocols implemented, level of interoperability etc. In addition, it features detailed instructions on how the registered services can be "interoperated".
The vision is that the RING will become the common global technical platform for the community of agricultural information professionals for accessing, sharing and exchanging information through web services.
This paper describes how the RING provides an infrastructure for enhancing interoperability of information sources and thus paves the way towards better accessibility of information through value-added and better targeted services.


Why and how to build an international information alliance like SIDALC? The road travelled by Latin America and the Caribbean

Federico SANCHO

Inter American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA)

The SIDALC alliance represents the efforts of 23 countries and 158 specialized institutions interested in providing information services and knowledge sharing by means of increasing access to library catalogs and full-text repositories (freely available at www.sidalc.net). Inside its main metadatabase AGRI2000, SIDALC gathers 2.1 million references and more than 100,000 full-text original documents, all from 256 databases of participating ministries of agriculture, research institutes, universities and colleges, and international centers, among others. As one of the largest ag-information networks in the world, SIDALC has taken advantage of the greatest resource available in the region: librarians and information specialists and their expertise in organizing knowledge. They maintain a permanent dialogue via Listservs, Web 2.0 technologies and face-to-face meetings, which enable them to interact and jointly develop collaborative projects for their own countries and beneficiaries. National agricultural networks have maintained and strengthened their own identity while providing records to SIDALC, by their own development of national information catalogs, digital libraries, and training and information policies. Alliances like PROCINORTE, SICTA, NAL-USDA and CAL-AAFC have been supportive of the integration of services. A recent alliance with Google has increased the visibility of SIDALC more than 4000% and has opened the opportunity to launch a major initiative to scan archives of the ag-information available in the Americas via SIDALC.

After 10 years in operation, the achievements of SIDALC have been possible thanks to the technical support of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the seed money investment of $1 million from a grant by Kellogg Foundation. The idea of this paper is to present a “road travelled”, including the reasons and the lessons learned in this international effort in Latin America and the Caribbean, for the benefit of other regions of the world.

SANCHO-2010-Why and how to build an international information alliance like SIDALC The road travelled-IAALD-Congress-233_a.pdf


VIGICULTURES – An early warning system for crop pest management

Mehdi SINE1, Emmanuel MORIN1, Danièle SIMONNEAU1, Michel BROCHARD2, Gérald DE COSNAC3, Hervé ESCRIOU4

1ARVALIS - Institut du végétal, France; 2ITL - Institut Technique du Lin; 3CETIOM; 4ITB - Institut Technique de la Betterave

In 2008 and 2009 the main French Agricultural Institutes developed and used a Management Information System. This system was aimed to collect, process, store and disseminate observation data on main crop bioagressors (cereals, maize, pulses, potatoes, oilseeds, sugar beets, flax) in real time. These agronomic ratings are collected by technicians or trained producers.

This paper outlines Vigicultures® structure and provides concepts behind the different modules. It also demonstrates utility of the Information and Communication Technologies for crop management and more specifically in early warning system for pest control.

The information system we developed is a web portal that allows users to collect, share and consult real time data. The agronomists can consult formatted data to support their decision on their regional sanitarian situation control. An API Google map mash-up presents dynamic maps of the French regions where data were collected. This combines dynamic colour icons and charts allowing data mining and facilitating interpretation (diseases or pests infection level). In addition, to accelerate data collection, we added web mobile pages using the last mobile technologies (XHTML) for field data transmission by smartphone.

Finally, one of the most interesting characteristics of this web portal is in its structure. It communicates with heterogeneous information systems and databases. Each institute store data in its own databases and feed the web portal with XML web services. Aggregation, process and vizualisation are possible by message standard transmissions elaborated between the four institutional partners.

The use of vigicultures® for territorial surveillance and pests control during the last two seasons allowed producers to reduce the risk of losses. It success is demonstrated by the number of users. We can still improve the system and give it more value. Assessment, calibration and dissemination of epidemiological models are in progress and can strengthen the system relevance.

SINE-2010-VIGICULTURES An early warning system for crop pest management-IAALD-Congress-179_b.pdf

Agropolis International publication - ISBN 978-2-909613-03-1

IAALD2010 Web Site : iaald2010.agropolis.fr - Contact : iaald2010@agropolis.fr