Thursday, August 11, 2011

Workshop Highlights Challenges to Agricultural Information Management

Participants in the Plenary Session
Participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe at a workshop on Agricultural Information Management and Knowledge Exchange for Eastern and Southern Africa have highlighted the major challenges hindering information management and knowledge exchange in the ministries of agriculture in the region. The opening day of the workshop which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 20 – 22 July 2011, saw participants enumerate several problems, among them inadequate investments in agricultural information activities and the absence of information management policies and strategies to facilitate the management and sharing of information in the ministries of agriculture.

Other challenges highlighted and closely linked to the above two, include:
  • Inadequate information and communication technology facilities
  • Inadequate capacity in information management and knowledge exchange
  • Weak libraries and documentation units/centres
The participants also noted lack of coherence in information activities in the ministries. They indicated that several departments and units, i.e. statistics, ICT, extension, library, etc, are involved in information and knowledge management activities and yet these rarely talk to each in as far as management and dissemination of information generated in the ministry is concerned. A result, different information management systems and standards are used and sometimes there is duplication of efforts.

Group Discussion
The workshop is funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization - Regional Office for Africa through ITOCA – Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa, based in Centurion, South Africa, and hosted by ITOCA East Africa Office in Nairobi. The main goal of the workshop is to introduce the participants to information management standards and guidelines, and some tools, aimed at capacity development and effective agricultural information management and knowledge exchange at maximum cost efficiencies, developed by FAO and partner institutions. These, among others include the Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS), AGROVOC, AGRIS Application Profile, AgriDrupal and the several training modules under the Information Management Resource Kit initiative (IMARK), including the following:
  • Digital Libraries, Repositories and Documents
  • Investing in Information for Development
  • Knowledge Sharing for Development
  • Web 2.0 and Social Media for Development

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post. The situation described in the report is similar to that of our sub region, and we hope the organisers will do the same thing for Central Africa