agriculture

Free digital access to 30 years of UNEP-WCMC publications and reports

Title: Free digital access to 30 years of UNEP-WCMC publications and reports
Source:AgInfo News from IAALD
Publisher:International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD)
Date (published):01/11/2010
Date (accessed):04/11/2010
Type of information:blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:

Since its creation in 1979 WCMC has produced well over 1500 books and major reports. UNEP-WCMC has selected 380 of the most important books and reports from this collection, and has worked with the Biodiversity Heritage Library to make these freely available online.

These documents include a significant body of information of value to audiences around the world ranging from researchers to the general public, and from educators to decision-makers. Items are available in 9 different formats, for maximum accessibility, and are published according to open access standards in a forum which welcomes and encourages both use and contribution, while respecting attribution rights.

The internet archive website has instant download statistics, and items rank highly in Google searches. In only a few months the UNEP-WCMC materials had already been downloaded 9,307 times (by 14th Oct 2010) - with no specific promotion other than through informal networks.

The UNEP-WCMC archive can be found at http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=wcmc and will soon be incorporated into the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Philippine precision farming gets a mobile upgrade

Title: Philippine precision farming gets a mobile upgrade
Author: Joel D. Adriano
Source: SciDev.Net
Date (published): 21/07/2010
Date (accessed): 03/08/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Rice farmers in the Philippines will be able to dial a specialised service on their mobile phones to obtain tailored advice on fertiliser use when they plant their crops in September.

Scientists at the Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), officials of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, and local private telecommunications firm Globe, have joined together to create the service that will enable poor farmers to tap into sophisticated 'precision agriculture' techniques commonly used in developed countries. These include technologies such as remote sensing, not often available to Asian farmers

Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW) 2010 Roundup

Title: Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW) 2010 Roundup
Author: Mary Schneider
Source: ICT-KM
Publisher: CGIAR
Date (published):
Date (accessed): 27/06/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
The 2nd Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW) opened earlier this month in Nairobi with a speech from Kenya’s Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Dr Sally Kosgei. Her thought-provoking address challenged researchers and GIS practitioners to ‘discuss steps towards the development of delivery mechanisms for making geospatial information accessible to poor smallholders in the villages across Sub-Saharan Africa,’ – a timely topic that was already high on the event’s agenda.

What we can learn from farmers about ICT4D and trust

Title: What we can learn from farmers about ICT4D and trust
Author: Christian Kreutz
Source: crisscrossed
Date (published): 25/06/2010
Date (accessed): 27/06/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:"
There is often that notion that once you have access to the Internet or to other information and communication technologies (ICT), the whole world of information lies rights at your feet, so you only need to pick the best of it. But in contrary, it can become incredibly time consuming to verify information and to make yourself a trusted source. In the field of ICT4D, this issue is particularly important. In many cases people do not have years of experience working with ICTs and have actually learnt them just the auto-didactic way – using the Internet for their own benefit. Let’s take the case of farmers in rural areas of Africa.

Farmers in developing countries
The other day I had an interesting conversation with a colleague, who has been working already for decades in the rural development and agriculture field around the world. We talked about the potentials for ICT in agriculture and in specific farmers. One of the major challenges is neither access nor literacy, but simply trust. Why should a farmer trust an information coming from somewhere as an SMS? Farmers make careful elaborations, before they change certain practices. Information from a website can help, but at the end of the day what counts is the advice of trusted colleagues. So, we have to realize that information through ICTs often have only a small impact.

Location, location, location: Geographic techies explore ways of navigating a better future

Title: Location, location, location: Geographic techies explore ways of navigating a better future
Author: Susan MacMillan
Source: ILRI News
Publisher: International Livestock Research Institute
Date (published): 16/06/2010
Date (accessed): 18/06/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
A group of some 80 international and developing-country experts in the use of geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing and other high-tech tools developed in the field of what was once innocently called ‘geography’ met in Nairobi last week (8–12 June 2010) to see if they couldn’t, by working together better, speed work to reduce world poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. (Oddly, this gathering of people all about ‘location’ tend to use a forest of acronyms — GIS, ArcGIA, CSI, ESRI, ICT-KM, AGCommons, CIARD, CGMap – in which the casual visitor is likely to get lost.)

The participants at this meeting, called the ‘Africa Agricultural GIS Week’, aimed to find ways to offer more cohesive support to the international community that is working to help communities and nations climb out of poverty through sustainable agriculture.

Kenya’s agriculture minister opens Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week

Title: Kenya’s agriculture minister opens Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week
Author: Nadia Manning-Thomas
Source: ICT-KM
Publisher: CGIAR
Date (published): 11/06/2010
Date (accessed): 15/06/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Kenya’s agriculture minister opens Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week and calls for efforts to take geospatial information to the ‘last mile’

While addressing the 2nd Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW) that opened this week at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) campus in Nairobi; Kenya’s Minister for Agriculture, Hon Dr Sally Kosgei, challenged researchers and GIS practitioners to ‘discuss steps towards the development of delivery mechanisms for making geospatial information accessible to poor smallholders in the villages across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas: The Latin American perspective

Title: Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas: The Latin American perspective
Authors: Lisa M Cespedes and Franz J Martin
Source: i4d (Information For Development), January - March 2010
Publisher: Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies
Date (accessed): 02/06/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Mobile phones offer individuals in rural populations the ability to access and interact with information services and databases.
Consider the numerous ways in which mobile telephony facilitates every day endeavours in addition to offering phone calls and text messaging. The technologies and applications vary from the developed areas to the developing regions, however, people in the most remote and marginalised places of the world are also benefiting greatly from the opportunities that the technology offers to improve their social and economic conditions.
There are 179 million people using mobile phones in Latin America; 82% of those users browse the Internet, 73% send text messages, and 55% are transferring data in different ways1. As a result of the expansion of mobile infrastructure and relatively affordable prices, the use of mobile telephony increasingly takes part of the everyday life of many rural families. As an example, in countries such as Peru, only 0.01% of rural households have access to the Internet while 36.5% have a mobile phone. In Chile, the penetration of mobile telephony is 94.7%.

ICT for Development in Francophone Africa

Title: ICT for Development in Francophone Africa
Author: Lova Rakotomalala
Source: Global Voices Online
Date (published): 25/04/2010
Date (accessed): 26/04/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Although there is undoubtedly a strong push to grow information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives for development in francophone Africa, the region is still somewhat lagging behind their English-speaking neighbors. The recognition of this lag is discussed by many Francophone bloggers and aggregated at the Franco Techno Gap blog.

The cause of the lag is unclear but a few reasons are often proposed: 1) broadband internet was made available by governments of English speaking nations such as (South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt) first (fr). Consequently, cost of internet access is on average higher as further explained on l'atelier des medias (RFI) (fr). 2) Related to the previous reason: “English speaking countries seem to be doing better than the French speaking countries” as Miquel points out 3) The English language is still the default language globally when one discusses ICT.

In this post, current grass roots development projects in francophone Africa with an important ICT component will be discussed in further details...

Smallholder farmers and ICT-KM

Title: Smallholder farmers and ICT-KM
Author: Enrica Porcari
Source: 4d Magazine
Publisher: Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies
Date (published): January-March 2010
Date (accessed): 21/04/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
ICTs can help smallholder farmers maximise the return on agricultural inputs, provided timely and relevant information is made available to them.

Research organisations like the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) cannot be satisfied just knowing they have produced high quality science. It is essential that the outputs of their research are communicated and put to use in the village, on the ground, in the lab, or across the negotiating table.

This is where the ICT-KM Programme of the CGIAR plays a role in helping to get vital research results out to the people who need it the most. The Programme recognises that scientific research organisations are becoming more and more information intensive, multi-disciplinary and partnership-based, requiring up-to-date communications infrastructure and knowledge sharing practices. As such, the Programme helps the CGIAR develop and sustain a culture of active information and knowledge sharing involving timely yet cost-effective multi-directional communications, the know-how to collaborate, and the tools to support multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams.

Agropedia: Revolutionising Indian Agriculture

Title: Agropedia: Revolutionising Indian Agriculture
Authors: Runa Sarkar, T. V. Prabhakar, Meeta Bagga Bhatia
Source: i4d Magazine
Publisher: Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies
Date (published): January-March 2010
Date (accessed): 21/04/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
An ICT initiative for agriculture in India and its potential impact on the livelihoods of farmers and agricultural extension workers.
Agropedia is an agriculture knowledge repository of universal meta models and localised content for a variety of users with appropriate interfaces built in collaborative mode in multiple languages. In other words, it aspires to be a one stop shop for any knowledge, pedagogic or practical related to Indian agriculture - an audiovisual encyclopaedia, to enhance, educate and transform the process of digital content creation and organisation completely. It aims to develop a comprehensive digital content framework, platform, and tools in support of agricultural extension and outreach.

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