GCARD2010: Knowledge, information and advice in agri-foods systems

Agricultural research and innovation are vital mechanisms for AR4D that should be driven directly by stakeholders participating in innovation systems, according to participants of the Knowledge, information, and advice in agri-food systems session.

Participants noted that public research systems, by design, are based on the open and free exchange of ideas, and public access to research provides greater returns and increases the potential for spillover benefits to support global AR4D investments.

Enhanced access to these outputs by all actors in agricultural research and innovation is essential to effective decision-making and the empowerment of various stakeholders across the AR4D spectrum.

“Research organizations, including the CGIAR, should not be satisfied just with producing high quality science,” noted Enrica Porcari of the CGIAR’s ICT-KM. “It is essential that research outputs are communicated and put to use, in the village, on the ground, in the lab, or across the negotiating table.”

Lack of skills, access to finance and technology were highlighted as constraints to accessing research outputs. Local and global efforts to promote broader access to farm information are also hindered by under-investment and a lack of diverse approaches to information and knowledge sharing systems.

There is a need for a global movement that reaches across the AR4D and advisory services communities to make public research outputs truly accessible and applicable, in support of innovation. In terms of successes, national advisory services in India and other countries were highlighted. Up-scaling the successes was noted as a challenge.

“Tailored,” multi-disciplinary and social media-based approaches to extension that support “communities of practice” were also highlighted for their potential benefits. In the US, young farmers are utilizing YouTube videos for farm advice.

To build on these successes, scientists will need incentives to encourage them to contribute information on the Internet and via other means.

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3 thoughts on “GCARD2010: Knowledge, information and advice in agri-foods systems

    1. I have participated in the “Knowledge, information and advice in agri-foods systems” session. It was a fruitful session with several presentations from the National and International organizations . I would like to share the following questions and comments which I have discussed during the session :

      1. Lack of Knowledge and information tools or lack of applying and benefiting from them ? that’s one of the questions which we should think about it; in these days you can find a lot of web tools at national, regional and international levels which most of them are open sources ;why we still talking about tools ? isn’t better to talk about how to apply and use them?

      2. Capacity building and farmers: we need more education farmers; we need more independent farmers as well; “independency” or” less dependent ” should be considered as one of the main scopes in rural areas.

      3. We need more actors in the linear system of : Researchers——-Extentionists——–Farmers.
      Who can be inserted in this chain and how? lack of communication with farmers need to be strnghtened by inserting more local actors , because farmers in rural areas have the language problem;also the cultural issues are important when you want to establish relationship with them. So we need more local, young and active actors.

      4. I think we need an Agricultural Extension and Information Army with its own soldiers! we need these soldiers to send them to rural and needed areas! Who can be the soldier? We have a lot of young gratuated students in Agriculure who are looking for job(specially in developing countries); why we shouldn’t invite them to participate in this Army to be an agricultural soldier? By collaboration of farmers organization and private sectors we can run this initiative;we need international partnership in this regard as well; as it is a must to have at least one school and small clinic in the rural areas, we can establish an agricultural extension and information center as well.

      5. Strengthening national agricultural extention and information systems should be considered as a priority. Extenstionis should work together with Information specialist to be enough efficient for our purpose.

      Hope youfind this interesting and useful.

  1. This is a concise but incomplete report. A number of country experiences were presented, covering both the developing and the developed world. All of them pointed to the importance of moving on to a new paradigm with ICT’s possibly playing a key role. The thrust was also to define public-private partnerships as the new mode for implementing rural advisory services, rather than limiting to one or the other. Also presented were action points that emerged from a GFAR-FAO workshop organised at ICRISAT in December 09. The report should be, in my view, modified to highlight the key contributions and emerging thrusts rather than attribute quotes to only one organization. That would be consistent with the spirit of partnerships that the GCARD stood for!

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