ICT Update... on agriculture and rural cooperation
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/ICT Update/ is a bimonthly web magazine (http://ictupdate.cta.int) with an
accompanying printed bulletin and an email newsletter. It is published by
the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) ACP EU,
Agro Business Park 2, 6708 PW Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Articles <#articles> | Selected CTA projects and initiatives <#projects>
* INTRODUCTION TO THIS ISSUE*
The editors of /ICT Update/ congratulate CTA on its 20th anniversary. This
special issue is different from the regular /ICT Update/ in that it focuses
on the forward-looking theme /Mainstreaming ICTs, digital futures in ACP
agriculture/. The theme has been chosen to pay tribute to CTA?s pioneering
role in putting ?ICTs for ACP agriculture? firmly on the ACP-EU policy
*Read more*: http://ictupdate.cta.int/index.php/article/view/321
*Carl B. Greenidge* explains that policy makers should encourage the use
ICTs, and should make the identification of promising ICT applications part
of their daily routines.
*Shaun Ferris* explains how FOODNET, an ASARECA marketing and
agro-enterprise network for East and Central Africa, is delivering reliable
market information to farmers in Uganda, using a mix of conventional media,
the Internet, mobile phones and other ICTs.
*Rutger Engelhard* describes a day in the life of an agricultural
extension worker in Kenya and the ICT equipment that he might be using in
the year 2020.
*Kevin Painting* outlines the enormous challenges for CTA and its partners
in ACP countries in mainstreaming ICTs into their programmes and projects.
*Gesa Wesseler* reports on the success of GenARDIS and highlights the
importance of a gender-sensitive approach to ICTs in ACP agriculture.
*Mike Jensen* has been promoting ICTs for development for more than 15
years, and has probably seen it all. In the early 1990s he travelled around
Africa helping NGOs install their first store-and-forward email systems,
which were supported by APC/GreenNet. Today, he is one of the most
sought-after ICT4D policy advisers of African governments and international
organizations. /ICT Update /interviewed him concerning telecom policies.
*SELECTED CTA PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES*
CTA's projects focus on supporting ICT capacity building, knowledgesharing
and awareness raising of the uses of ICTs in ACP agriculture and rural
*Observatory on ICTs for ACP agriculture and rural development* CTA?s ICT
Observatory identifies ICT issues and strategies relevant to ACP agriculture
and monitors the development of ICTs for use in information and
communication management. Every year, CTA brings together leading ACP and EU
experts in the field of ICTs for development. The first of these expert
meetings advised CTA on a long-term ICT strategy that could enhance the
outreach and quality of its agricultural information and communication
In 2001, the Observatory meeting looked at technologies for wireless access
to the Internet via satellite. This meeting identified the enormous
potential of small, cheap VSAT satellite applications for two-way
communication to bring the Internet to rural areas of ACP countries.
In 2002, the Observatory explored a neglected policy area, ?Gender and
agriculture in the information society?, and put it firmly on the agenda
of the international development community.
In 2003, the ICT Observatory meeting looked at how ICTs could enhance the
effectiveness and efficiency of agricultural extension services. The policy
reports that resulted from each of these meetings can be retrieved from
CTA?s website. www.cta.int <http://www.cta.int>
*Resource kits on information management* CTA collaborated with the FAO and
other organizations to produce two distance learning CD-ROMs: (1) Investing
in agricultural information (FAO, CTA, GTZ, ISNAR) and (2) Building
electronic communities and networks (FAO, APC, CTA, Rockefeller Foundation).
*Subscription programme for CD-ROM/Internet agricultural databases*
CTA offers access to major agricultural databases for subscribers. 76
institutions receive CD-ROMs and 12 are subscribing to Internet databases.
*Rural Radio Resource Packs*
CTA is working to strengthen the links between extension workers and
farmers, and to promote knowledge sharing among farmers. CTA's Rural Radio
Resource Pack project aims to address the problem of illiteracy by
encouraging the use of rural radio to disseminate scientific and technical
information. The beneficiaries of the project include rural radio programme
producers and managers, extension workers and farmers.
*Question & Answer services*
CTA provides support to regional Question & Answer centres which respond to
users' requests, using on and off-line services, consulting subject-matter
specialists when necessary. These services also refer users to appropriate
sources of information, and advice on sources of finance and training
opportunities. www.cta.int/about/qas.htm <http://www.cta.int/about/qas.htm>
*OTHER CTA WEBSITES*
*Agritrade* addresses agricultural trade issues in current and future ACP?EU
trade relations. Provides information, on news and analysis of issues and
events affecting ACP agricultural trade. http://agritrade.cta.int
*Knowledge for Development*, an observatory on science and technology for
ACP agriculture and rural development, is intended to support the policy
dialogue on S&T for development, and to enable the ACP scientific community
to share and review results of the process of harnessing S&T for the
development of agriculture. http://knowledge.cta.int/
Copyright 2004 Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
ACP-EU <http://www.cta.int/>. Email: ictupdate@...
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Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa, India
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