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

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Theme 5: Information as public policy enablers

: Ibrahim KHADAR(CTA)
Rapporteur : Thiendou NIANG(Afrique Communication)

The state and exchange of agricultural scientific and technical information in Armenia


1Agronomy Department, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; 2Library of ASAU, Armenian State Agrarian University, Yerevan, Armenia;

Several decades ago Armenia possessed an efficient system of agricultural research and education which was actively integrated in a wider regional and international environment. Information products, such as documents and publications were available through different information channels. Scientometric analysis presented in the paper reveals a significant decline of Armenian scientific output during the last two decades. Principal agricultural information resources and channels of information exchange of the past period are identified and evaluated. The analysis is based on citation database ISI Web of Science and agricultural databases Agris and CAB Abstracts. It then examines other more recent publishing indicators for scientific materials from Armenia such as e-journals and possible national agricultural databases. Also under investigation are various national stakeholders in the field of agricultural information. Potential agricultural research and education institutions are identified. Several deficiencies are detected and serious stagnation is noticed. Some important venues of possible information transfer, such as agricultural institutions of higher education and agricultural libraries are severely underequipped (lack of computers, shortage of more recent international publications). The paper reassesses possibilities for a more vigorous future participation of Armenia in the process of international transfer of information. It examines several international projects aiming at possible improvement of information exchange in Armenia, e.g. FAO TCP Projects, FAO Agora, Agris National Centres, AgroWeb CAC (Caucasus and Central Asia). Hitherto weak levels of utilization of information technologies and external (international) databases, and resulting weak information-literacy levels justify promotion of international support and cooperation programmes in order to improve international, regional and local communication exchange and information flow in Armenia. Consequently, the inclusion and empowerment of the local scientific community should result in better agricultural productivity indicators and also in overall better stability of this volatile region which is confronted to many real-life challenges.



International collaboration in a research institute: a bibliometric study

Odile BÉDU,

Inra, French National Institute for Agricultural Research, France

The analysis of co-publications between INRA and their foreign partners provides indicators which interest the INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) and particularly the Department of International Relations. An annual bibliometric study has been led since 2005, which
allows us to follow several quantitative and qualitative indicators. Data are provided by the Web Of Science which provides all the necessary information for this work in the Adress Field.
Once the location of the Inra's partner countries is complete, the corpus is constituted. The most important work is the harmonization of the writings of the addresses, essential before the statistical treatment of the data. This is realized with a software allowing the analysis of surveys, from a
statistical or textual point of view. The global results confirm intuitive data: increase of the number of co-publications and broadening of the number of our partner countries. A country analysis is more relevant; it allows the listing of the partner institutions with precision. This work is led by the 20
principal countries with which Inra co-publishes; the fields of research (Subjects categories) and temporal evolution of the collaborations are also analysed. Partners networks are also identified. A regrouping of these countries, by geopolitical identity, allows to be better situate INRA within world agronomic research. The data acquired allows us to answer to requests from the Department of International Relations of our Institute, as well as from several Government Ministries.



The Observatory of Niger Basin Autority: a tool for transboundary integrated water management governance

Robert DESSOUASSI1, Patrick BISSON2, Jean-François BOYER3

1Autorité de Bassin du Niger (ABN), Niger; 2Cirad, France; 3Ird, France;

Not attending

The Niger River basin involves nine countries that depend on its water resources for agriculture, energy supply, drinking water, breeding and navigation needs. It has also a major environmental role in a very fragile area. Water availability in the basin is very variable and there is threat of tension between the States of the basin if water is not shared properly. It is therefore necessary that the States can converse and agree upon distribution of the available water resources with good equity. In this aim, the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) was created to allow permanent place for dialogue between States. However, a productive and equitable dialogue built on objective basis is necessary. The observatory of the NBA has been created for that purpose. The conception of this observatory is described. This observatory must not only work on the climate and hydrology data of the year but also allow the sharing of knowledge so that every State would be at the same level of information to make suitable decisions. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the framework of the Echel-Eau project, supported a global diagnosis on water productivity according to the methodology initiated by the Global Challenge Programme “Water and food”. This global diagnosis named “Basin Focal Project” leads in a knowledge database that will be implanted in NBA. The concept of this base is described.


DESSOUASSI-2010-The Observatory of Niger Basin Autority-IAALD-Congress-277_b.pdf


Communicating Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators: Lessons learned

Kathleen A. FLAHERTY, Nienke M. BEINTEMA, Gert-Jan STADS

International Food Policy Research Institute, Italy;

The international agenda on agriculture and sustainable development emphasizes the role of research in providing improved technologies to address constraints in the agricultural sector in developing countries. Improving the effectiveness and capacity of national research systems along with increasing investment in agricultural science and technology (S&T) have become priorities of many current initiatives, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research. To understand the contribution of agricultural S&T to agricultural growth, quantitative information is fundamental. Indicators derived from such information allow the performance, inputs, and outcomes of agricultural S&T systems to be measured, monitored, and benchmarked. These indicators assist S&T stakeholders in formulating policy, setting priorities, and undertaking strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluation. One of the few sources of information on agricultural S&T statistics in low and middle income countries is the Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative. Since 2001, ASTI has been active in compiling, analyzing, and publicizing data on institutional developments, investments, and capacity trends in agricultural S&T in low- and middle income countries worldwide. ASTI is generally recognized as the most authoritative source of information on the structure, financing, and capacity of agricultural S&T worldwide and its outputs have been widely cited in international agricultural research policy documents. Based on lessons learned since the inception of the ASTI initiative, a number of approaches have been developed to enhance the dissemination and usage of ASTI outputs, including the formation of strong partnerships, the tailoring of information to different stakeholders, and the creation of an interactive data tool on the ASTI website. This paper will discuss ASTI’s strategy toward communicating agricultural S&T information and trends at global, regional, and national levels.

Final paper published in Agriculture Information Worldwide (AIW) Vol. 3 No. 2
FLAHERTY-2010-Communicating-agricultural-science-and-tecjhnology-indicators-IAALD-Congress-168_b (slides)

Collective scientific expertise at INRA : a tool for decision making and dialogue between science and society

Dominique FOURNIER1, Claire SABBAGH2

1INRA, France; 2INRA, France;

Since 2002, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) has carried out collective scientific research (ESCo) to answer questions raised by the French government authorities in relation to agriculture and society. A final report and executive summary are published in order to be integrated in a decision-making process.

The ESCo process consists in analysing international scientific publications by a group of experts in order to establish the state of scientific knowledge, highlight uncertainties and consider controversies, transparently and impartially. A charter institutionalizes this method and determines its rules.

For each ESCo, a group of experts from different disciplines and research organizations in France and other countries is constituted. These experts are scientists of excellence with relevant expertise. A declaration of interests should always be signed by each expert in order to guarantee his/her impartiality, which is crucial to the credibility of such exercises. INRA information specialists are involved in ESCo to collect international scientific publications from various information sources (WoS, PubMed, specialized databases). Numerous rounds of interactions between information specialists and experts are necesary to define keywords and refine searches. During a second step, grey literature is provided to the experts. An Endnote database is created and shared by the group. Information specialists provide support to experts by providing documents and formatting the bibliographies in the final report.

Experts should analyse all the publications harvested in order to extract, discuss and assemble relevant elements, and to provide multi-disciplinary approach answer to the issues raised by French government authorities.

The scientific expert report is posted on the INRA website in open access whereas the executive summary is published by Quae.

FOURNIER-2010-Collective scientific expertise at INRA-IAALD-Congress-289_b.pdf

Methods and practices in agricultural Knowledge Management and Dissemination (KMD) in Southern Africa: Strategies towards the generation, exchange and utilization of agricultural knowledge and technology for pro-poor growth.


London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom

Not attending

The paper critiques two key approaches employed towards agricultural knowledge management and exchange by Southern African governments, organizations and research institutions, namely, community engagement and farm broadcasting. Employed largely by CGIAR institutes, community engagement refers to participatory strategies of bringing communities into decision-making processes requiring the development and implementation of acceptable agricultural policies. On the other hand, farm broadcasting, or “farmcasting,” refers to the whole system and structure within broadcasting institutions through which agricultural radio programmes are produced and disseminated to the general public, largely as part of agriculture extension strategies.

These two KMD approaches provide opportunities for the up-scaling and out-scaling farmer-centred research and engagement, through which farming and rural communities, extension officers, subject matter specialists and agricultural communicators collaboratively generate, manage, share and utilize relevant agricultural knowledge and technology towards improving rural livelihoods and reducing poverty. The aim is to empower rural farming communities achieve on-farm management of water, improvement of nutrition and productivity of small ruminants, rehabilitation and management of indigenous woodlands, plantations, trees on farms, sound management of soil and land, diversification of cropping systems and the utilization of high-value plant species. This paper therefore will go beyond mere comparison and contrasting of these approaches by building on field experiences in order to answer the following questions:

• How central is community participation within the various community engagement approaches being employed by research and development industries engaged in sustainable rural agricultural in Southern Africa?

• What are the connecting and encounter points between agricultural indigenous knowledge and scientific research?

• How can educational information and communication technologies (ICTs) facilitate the scaling up/out and adoption of agricultural knowledge and technology within rural farming communities?

• What should an integrated model of KMD in agricultural development encompass?


Methods and practices in agricultural Knowledge Management and Dissemination (KMD) in Southern Africa: Strategies towards the generation, exchange and utilization of agricultural knowledge and technology for pro-poor growth.

Caroline MARTIN, Emmanuelle JANNES-OBER, Valérie PAGNEUX

Cemagref, France

Cemagref have launched a project called "Sciences Eaux & Territoires" e-Journal to complete his public policies support plan. "Sciences Eaux & Territoires" project is an e-journal of transfer of knowledge from research to action and decision. It wants to help decision makers, stakeholders in management of water resources, and landscape management in their daily professional practices. It wants to be a link between scientists and professionals who need scientific knowledge to build engineering projects concerning land or water resources management. The target public is composed of global and local civil service of State (DDEAF, DRAF, Préfectures"…) and the staff of local authorities ("Départements, communes,
communautés de communes…). This specific public has been particularly studied and the conclusion was the lack of different degrees of the scientific and technical information to act at different levels of responsibilities for professionals. Furthermore, the public policies context changes (rationalisation and control). So the local authorities become first stakeholders to develop of engineering projects. They need of information on case studies, states of the art, synthesis and analysis tools to understand some challenges related to management and development of their land. Regarding the global and local civil services of State, their role turns into assessment and control of the implementation of public policies at local level.
The information on indicators and risks prevention (biodiversity, water and soils quality) become essentially to practice the well control and assessment operations. The web site of the journal is developed as a real platform of exchange dedicated to professional users of scientific results, allowing readers individualized entry points and routes through the content, while using the latest advances in visualization techniques. It wants to be a link between professionals and scientists and the last but not least a collaborative space to reach the principal objective: the Co-construction of knowledge.


A federated search engine providing access to validated and organized "web" information within the World Agricultures Observatrory

Philippe LEMOISSON1, Audrey BONA2,Thierry HELMER3, Michel PASSOUANT1

1CIRAD, UMR TETIS, France; 2Centre National Supérieure de Cognitique, France; 3CIRAD, DSI, France philippe.lemoisson{at}cirad.fr

As part of the international initiative "World Agricultures Observatory (WAO)”, CIRAD aims at producing and capitalizing original knowledge in order to promote information exchange and to enable reflection and debate about the sustainability of production systems. A web portal will offer
three classes of services:
i) access to documentary resources organized and validated by scientists,
ii) sharing of data managed by the WAO partners, starting with the sites where CIRAD conducts studies on rice, cotton, livestock ...,
iii) access to a collaborative platform, to news, to a literature review ...
This article discusses the 'web documentary resources’ component. We first introduce the concepts and technical features of the supporting tool ‘Système d’Information Scientifique et Technique (SIST)’ developed by CIRAD in the context of a project funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in West Africa. In a second part, we expose the cognitive approach adopted: analysis of the needs, design, implementation and evaluation of the solution and enter in the details of the analysis and design steps. In a third part, we describe the SIST-OAM prototype. We then evaluate the solution. Finally we put in perspective the overall approach and compare it with usual web search of information.




Capitalisation d'expérience en agriculture et changement de politiques publiques

Thiendou NIANG1, Ndeye Coumba FALL2

1Afrique Communication, Senegal; 2Fondation Rurale pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest (FRAO)/FIDAfrique;

En Afrique, les acteurs de développement, notamment les projets et programmes et les organisations non gouvernementales, ont accumulé une expérience riche et diversifiée sur les approches de développement agricole et rural. Celles-ci concernent la création de richesses et la diversification des revenus, la promotion de systèmes de production durable, la gestion de l’environnement et des infrastructures. Malheureusement, les savoirs acquis de ces expériences ne sont pas toujours accessibles aux autres, ce qui en limite la portée. Parmi les raisons d’une telle situation, on peut citer le faible niveau de compétences des acteurs de développement en matière d’identification, de caractérisation, de formalisation des bonnes pratiques. Il en résulte une non traçabilité et une non visibilité des expériences de développement et une sous-valorisation des savoirs produits.

La capitalisation d’expériences, processus participatif de collecte, de tri, d’organisation, d’analyse et de validation de l’information relative à une expérience donnée, permet la création des savoirs et des connaissances et le partage avec d’autres acteurs en utilisant des supports adaptés.

Parmi les objectifs de la capitalisation d’expérience, on peut noter la génération de connaissances pour améliorer des pratiques, le recueil de leçons pour améliorer la conduite des activités ou la conception de nouveaux projets. Aussi, la capitalisation d’expériences permet-elle d’inspirer d’autres acteurs de développement et de nouvelles politiques publiques, de conforter les partenaires et faciliter la mobilisation de ressources. La capitalisation d’expériences est un processus multi-acteurs dont l’intérêt est de favoriser la triangulation des informations et la réduction des biais méthodologiques. La communication va montrer le processus de capitalisation d’expérience en mettant l’accent sur des expériences pratiques d’initiatives, de processus au Sénégal et au Mali.

Final paper published in Agriculture Information Worldwide (AIW) Vol. 3 No. 2
NIANG-2010-Capitalisation-experience-agriculture-changement-politiques-publiques-IAALD-Congress-168_b (slides)

Nigerian rural youths' utilization of agricultural information on selected arable crops: an empirical evidence

Olumuyiwa Akin OLANIYI, Jacob Gbemiga ADEWALE

Ladoke Akintola University of Technology,Nigeria

Agricultural information research as a component of agricultural development in Nigeria has often focused its attention on adults, and it has failed to effectively address the utilisation of information that are relevant to rural youth. The study assessed the utilisation of agricultural information on selected arable crops among rural youth in Nigeria. A sample of 455 young arable crop farmers were selected for the study, using multistage sampling technique. Data collection was made through the use of interview schedule. Frequency counts, percentages, mean, standard deviation and Tobit regression were employed in analysing the data.
The result showed that most (84.2%) of the respondents are either low or average user’s of information. Also, the study found out that various categories of agricultural information ( technical , economic and legal ) were utilised by the respondents on the selected arable crops. Tobit regression analysis revealed that age, marital status, farm size and perception of utilisation of information were significant predictors of level
of utilisation of agricultural information on selected arable crops. The study recommended that dissemination of agricultural information on economic and legal information should be promoted by the extension institutions in order to enhance high level of utilisation of information and those factors that have positive associations with utilisation of information should be considered in planning rural youth extension programmes in the study area.

Final paper to be published in Agriculture Information Worldwide (AIW) 
OLANIYI-2010-Nigerian_rural_youths_utilization_of_agricultural_information_on_selected_arable_crops-IAALD-Congress-168_b (slides)

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

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