Innovation systems are networks of interlinked actors, and the effective communication of information and exchange of knowledge among the different actors is critical to the function of the system. Innovation is the application of knowledge (whether new or old), and an environment that encourages effective information and communication management (ICM) contributes directly to innovation, and to social and economic development. In a globalised world, successful organisations, sectors or nations are increasingly those that recognise the importance of knowledge, and implement policies and strategies to promote its creation, sharing and application. 'Knowledge is power, which is why people who had it in the past often tried to make a secret of it. In post-capitalism, power comes from transmitting information to make it productive, not from hiding it!'
The accumulation of scientific knowledge and its technological applications are accelerating at a rapid pace, enabled in large part by ever more powerful computers and lightning fast communication. Yet the global reality is that many innovations fail to accrue to those who need them most, and benefits are not shared equitably, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Decentralization of public administration and privatization of public operations through the structural adjustment by the World Bank have further implications on Science and Technology. A new approach to science and technology (S&T) is necessary to support a paradigm shift from product economy to knowledge based development. The recent World Trade Agreements have led to the changing roles of the three main actors (public, private and civil society). At the same time, the urgent demand for technological innovations for development challenges are continuously increasing.
Information and Communication Management (ICM) and knowledge management (KM) are often characterised as having three components: people, processes and technology. However, the rapid development of information and communications technologies (ICTs) has sometimes resulted in ICM being seen as a largely technological issue. In reality it is the people component of ICM and KM supported by processes and technology that is the most important. In the articles and documents published on this website we have discussed the concept of Innovation Systems as networks of interlinked actors, wherein the effective communication of information and exchange of knowledge among the different actors is critical to the performance of the system. In the agricultural science, technology and innovation system, successful organisations and related agro-enterprises and industries are increasingly those that recognize the importance of knowledge, and implement policies and strategies to promote its creation, sharing and application. This dossier highlights the issue of information and knowledge sharing and points our readers to available resources and tools to assist in the development of capacity to harness knowledge for agricultural development in ACP countries. Read and browse the new dossier.
IICD and the Ugandan government have signed an agreement to expand a programme that helps rural farmers increase their income through ICT-enabled crop marketing services. The Rural Information System (RIS) programme enables farmers to send and receive production and market information through 26 information centres in isolated areas throughout the country. The information helps farmers sell their produce at better prices. The Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry (MTTI) will build ten new centres. The programme has been piloted through a collaboration between the Uganda Commodity Exchange (UCE), MTTI, IICD and Dutch NGO SNV since 2002. This expansion is made possible through funding from MTTI, the existing RIS Centres, Close the Gap and other funds in Uganda. The new phase in the programme will begin in early 2010. (Source: IICD, November 2009)
(First prize, ‘Women in Science’ competition)Efforts to improve livestock feeding in Uganda have had great strides in identifying nutritious feed resources for cattle. These include pasture grasses and legumes, leguminous shrubs and multipurpose trees, crop residues and agro-industrial by-products. Despite knowledge and the use of appropriate feed resources, milk production of dairy farms has remained low (2 to 5 L per cow per day). The poor performance indicates a gap in dissemination of knowledge to farmers. One major gap identified was that farmers did not know the quantities of feed that would adequately meet the nutritional requirements of their animals. This study demonstrates the use of decision-support tools (DST) in meeting such challenges. It provides information on low status of dairy cattle feeding. In conclusion, the DST that was developed and tested led to improved cattle feeding and increased milk production by 24%. The tool is available on the website of the Uganda National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO-Uganda), and is recommended for use by farmers, researchers, trainers and policy-makers.Article taken from the 2011 CTA/FARA publication ‘Agricultural Innovations for Sustainable Development’ Volume 3, Issue 2.
Keynote address by Gérard Toulouse Science, Indigenous Knowledge and Innovation CTA Advisory Committee Meeting, Johannesburg, 22-26 Nov. 2010 The brilliant and convincing fresco presented by Professor Jacobus Nicolaas Eloff, leader of the phytomedicine programme at the University of Pretoria, over the ancestry of herbal medicine, and its vast promises for the future, raised an implicit yet major question : why and how has modern science - as it developed in the West during the last four centuries - been so blind about the high value of these domains of investigation ? In brief, why such a long phase of neglect/contempt for traditional and indigenous knowledge?"
Management Information Systems (MIS) can be used successfully to facilitate access to a wide range of integrated data sets. They are consistent, modular and flexible tools for the systematic acquisition, analysis and archiving of data and information from a variety of sources. When socio-economic data are also included, MIS can become even more powerful tools for planning and decision-making for agricultural and rural development in ACP countries. Quality control, standardisation and regular updating are key issues to ensure the usefulness of MIS.
In most countries, the environmental information necessary to solve the complex problems of society, economy and environment, is scattered over different Ministries, organisations and institutions. This is the result of many decades of specialisation, isolation, suspicion and competition. However, integrated problems demand integrated solutions, and these solutions can only be developed on the basis of integrated information. In response to this need, the concept of Clearing Houses was developed.