21 December 2006

Agricultural information challenges in Angola and Mozambique

As part of its support to 'post-conflict' countries, CTA has published two reports on agricultural information and communication needs in Angola and Mozambique. The reports provide a wealth of insights and information into the current situations in each country.

In Angola, it seems that almost all aspects of agricultural information and communication need attention: Organisations expressed a "great need for up-to-date information" [in Portuguese]; "capacity building is needed for the implementation of demand-driven extension services"; "training and support for policy makers is needed to keep a focus on pro-poor and demand driven ICT development"; and, "since most libraries are already damaged and out-of-date, the need exists to build new libraries almost from scratch."

Some immediate needs include: the lack of national strategy on information management; lack of data; organisations have limited access to mass media; and a lack of relevant up to date information in Portuguese. Second level issues include: lack of training in use of the Internet; lack of data analysis skills; lack of quality in data collection; inadequate extension skills; and inadequate writing skills.

The situation in Mozambique seems to be much better: "Most of the institutions interviewed have access to sufficient hardware and software resources to enable the efficient management of information. Strategies and policies on how to actually make the most effective use of these resources are often less well developed."

Furthermore, "the Internet is a commonly used source of information and many of the institutions recognise its importance" [though "access is a constraint"]; "several organisations maintain a website and others mentioned plans to develop one"; however "there is relatively little use of radio for dissemination of information" and "the use of cell phone technology for the dissemination of information is non-existent, except for commercial purposes."

Hence, the report authors call for the provision of a range of "targeted training opportunities" in areas like the "design and analysis of questionnaires and other monitoring mechanisms to analyse the effectiveness of information provision, in data management and data storage skills, the design of user-friendly search utilities and in library skills and the organisation and provision of information widely throughout organisations."




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