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TitleFertile ground : opportunities for greater coherence in agricultural information systems
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsBesemer, H., Addison, C., Ferguson, J.
Secondary TitleResearch report / DFID
Volumeno. 19
Pagination46 p. : fig., tab.
Date Published2003-12-01
PublisherInternational Institute for Communication and Development, IICD
Place PublishedThe Hague, The Netherlands
Keywordsagriculture, databases, development agencies, ghana, information networks, information services, sdiafr, sdiinf, tanzania, uganda
Abstract

This review examines the current status of Internet-based agricultural information services, identifies the gaps and inconsistencies, and suggests improvements to bring greater coherence to the system as a whole, in order to make it easier for those who need information to find what they are looking for. Technical options to ensure greater flexibility in mixing and matching information from different sources are explored in some detail.
The coherence among agricultural information services is reviewed from three perspectives : 1) service providers : institutions providing development-oriented information services in the agricultural sector, 2) agricultural stakeholders in the South: information workers addressing the needs of the main clients for the services provided, such as extension workers, researchers and policymakers, and 3) donors : providing financial support to many of the major agricultural information services and systems.
What emerges is a picture of an overall system in which there are striking gaps, areas of inefficiency, and duplications, as well as a certain mismatch between the information needs of the South and what is being provided by the current donor-supported s.ervices. Coherence can be achieved by facilitating collaboration, partnership and networking among partners, by promoting information exchange and knowledge sharing; and by harmonising the decentralised efforts currently taking place in the development of methodologies, standards and applications for management of agricultural information systems. All stakeholders agree that integration of information resources in a metadatabase and the establishment of an Information Management Clearinghouse could provide an answer to this and would improve access.

NotesIncludes references
Custom 1503

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