31 August 2006

Agricultural knowledge and information in international agricultural science and technology

Draft chapters of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) have been released for review. Reviewers are invited to view the draft chapters (in PDF format) and provide comments using the templates provided (Before 25 September 2006).

How does information, knowledge and communication fare in this assessment?

Chapter 1 provides the background and conceptual framework as well as an extensive glossary with terms like extension, information, knowledge, networking, and research.

Chapter 2 gives a historical analysis of the effectiveness of AKST systems. A sub-chapter on 'Knowledge Processes' (processes of creating, transforming, storing, and communicating about knowledge) defines scientific, technological, indigenous and user knowledge processes. The way that indigenous knowledge is valued and incorporated in agriculture is assessed; and information, communication, and innovation processes are identified and assessed. Specific topics covered include: the Transfer of Technology model and diffusion processes; information and communication processes; innovation in the organization of knowledge processes; farmer participatory research and extension; and indigenous knowledge and farmer-scientist research models.

The authors mention that the "task of interpreting agricultural knowledge between different actors and stakeholders in agricultural development came to be recognized as a specialist function in its own right. Agricultural information specialists – from librarians to broadcasters – began to play a crucial role in the flow of information between different sets of people and bodies of knowledge."

Chapter 7 discusses options to enhance the impact of AKST on sustainable development goals. A sub-chapter on 'Information Communication Technology' elaborates on ways that ICTs are being used in information delivery for farm use. Areas illustrated include: market information, weather forecasting, web-based marketing systems and e-commerce, e-consultation/advice and training, and e-governance.

Chapter 8 discusses options to strengthen capacities to generate, disseminate, access, adopt and improve AKST.




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