14 August 2007

AgInfo management in Laos

Information and communication management are important aspects of the work of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institution (NAFRI) of Laos.

Through its information management and strategic planning division, it has developed an Information Service Strategy (2004-2010) with a vision to "seek to improve researchers’ ability to better access and use information so as to improve the quality of their research and in turn assist them to communicate their results and recommendations to better inform decision
making at different levels."

Key information services needs and priorities identified in the strategy include: Need for better collection and dissemination of research results and technical reports; Improved dissemination of NAFRI materials; More systematic linkages with other actors in the Agriculture Knowledge and Information System (AKIS); and Improved access to communication facilities to develop an effective information network between NAFRI centers and Headquarters.

As part of its Library and data management services, NAFRI has developed three on-line information systems: Lao Agriculture Database (LAD); National Agriculture Library Information System (NALIS); and Lao AGROVOC. Each is accessible online in English and Lao.

NAFRI has also joined with the National Agriculture and Forestry Extension Service (NAFES) to improve research-extension linkages. For this, a joint working group on Agricultural Information Management (AIM) - aiming to improve extension staff and farmers’ access to agriculture and forestry related information and knowledge - and a dedicated web site (Laolink) have been set up. The sites contain much information on what the two institutes are doing in the area of rural communication and information dissemination, including very interesting documents outlining the AIM concepts they have developed, meeting reports, and plans.

A separate LaoEx web site provides information and key full text reports on agricultural and forestry extension in Laos.

All in all, a valuable collection of resources and ideas, including on a "Lao Wisdom Bag" that hangs on the wall in District and Provincial offices.


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