Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New global information forum for agricultural development

By SENIORL ANZU of NARI, who attended the meeting in Bangkok, Thailand

The accession and sharing of agricultural information will increase globally as a result of greater participation in a new information management and sharing platform developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
 This new initiative, Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD), is an online database information management system that is aimed at creating a one-stop forum for different agricultural information systems that are currently available from different organisations throughout the world.
More than 30 professionals in information and communication from 20 countries in the Asia Pacific region were introduced to the new system last week in Bangkok, Thailand.
The countries were introduced to the forum through a workshop organised by the Asia-Pacific association of agricultural research institutions (APAARI), as a regional forum, which has been promoting the use and application of information communication technology/information communication management (ICT/ICM) in agricultural research for development (AR4D) in the region through its programme ‘Asia-Pacific agricultural research information system (APARIS)’. APARIS is closely associated with the Rome-based global forum for agricultural research (GFAR) and FAO on such innovations for agricultural development.   
The initiative is currently available online (
To contribute, access and learn from the different databases and systems worldwide, organisations can log on the site and register to participate in this exciting innovation which comprises national, regional and international ICT/ICM developments across the globe.
The Pacific region was represented by Papua New Guinea (National Agriculture Research Institute), Fiji (Ministry of Agriculture) and Samoa (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries).
According to APAARI, the workshop was to assist the member national agricultural research systems (NARS) with new capacities for better agricultural information management through revitalising APARIS activities and through which strengthening global ICM4ARD initiatives to improve effective use of information by all stakeholders for Agricultural Research for oDevelopment (ARD) in the region and the world over.
The main objective of the workshop was to orient participants to CIARD initiative and equip them to contribute to the CIARD roadmap to information nodes and gateways (CIARD RING). It was also to orient participants to the potential opportunities of new ICT/ICM for AR4D in the areas of research, extension, marketing and agri-business, and identify mechanisms to strengthen Asia-Pacific APARIS for efficient exchange of data, knowledge and technologies in the region and present the status of ICT/ICM in AR4D in the region.
The major outcomes include:
·        Increasing the awareness on new ICT/ICM initiatives among information and communication managers of national agricultural information Systems (NAIS);
·        Promotion of the CIARD initiative, capacity building for NAIS in the Asia-Pacific region to contribute to the CIARD initiative, and registration of NAIS services in the CIARD RING; and
·        Mechanisms for strengthening APARIS to undertake better advocacy, networking, partnerships and human and institutional capacity strengthening programmes in the region and a status report on ICT/ICM in AR4D in the Asia-Pacific Region.
The three-day workshop, which ended on Sept 17, was staged at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok.
PNG was invited by FAO to register and be part of the new CIARD RING and benefit from it.

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