PROGEFIA - a step forward in agricultural information training
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CTA. 1990. PROGEFIA - a step forward in agricultural information training. Spore 26. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45245
international meeting on training in agricultural information in Rome in June 1988.
PROGEFIA (Programme General de Formation en Information Agricole/General Programme for Training in Agricultural Information) is an innovation in agricultural information training, which involves a pooling of all available resources and which aims to improve North-South and South-South cooperation. PROGEFIA is based on the voluntary participation of the prime movers in the development of agricultural information systems in developing countries. It came into being because of a common wish to overcome the inadequate training of librarians and agricultural documentalists - a need which was identified during an international meeting on training in agricultural information in Rome in June 1988. This gathering asked CTA to draw up a strategy for a training programme for librarians and agricultural documentalists. which could serve as a basis for a united plan of action. The strategy was discussed by experts in this field who met at Libreville, Gabon, at the end of December 1989. Their brief was to see how the results and recommendations of the Rome meeting could be translated into action and to identify the most urgent needs in the developing countries for training in agricultural information. The second objective of the Libreville symposium was to study how best to match supply to demand for training and how to set up PROGEFIA in as short a time as possible and finally, to consider how it might develop in the short and medium term. Agricultural infommation is a necessary component of any plan for the improvement of agricultural productivity. At present national and regional information services can only make a very limited contribution to solving development problems and, for this reason, the symposium made agricultural information training a top priority in the development of national and regional infrastructures. All interested institutions (agricultural, agricultural information science, professional associations) were invited to set up the administrative mechanisms, both nationally and regionally, which would permit their participation in PROGEFIA and to identify in detail their needs in the field of training so that PROGEFIA could start working on its objectives immediately. Given the importance of the subject in the policies of the developing ACP countries, the symposium also recommended that information science colleges or courses should include Agricultural Information Training programmes in their regular training or higher training syllabuses. Any such new direction must require the academic authorities to give their syllabuses the weight of Universities of Development'. Pittsburgh University has unique experience in the field of agricultural information training and has offered to share this with developing countries. Therefore the symposium urged that the means whereby this cooperation between Pittsburgh and the countries of the South could be made operative should be initiated. PROGEFIA has a very real chance of success because of the considerable interest shown by bilateral and muItilateral cooperation agencies, by professional associations such as IAALD (International Association of Agricultural Librarians and Documentalists), and also because of CTA's role in coordinating the programme. CTA is also cooperating with EIB (Ecole Internationale de Bordeaux) to organize a course on information management by documentary micro-computing. This will consist of two workshops held six months apart, each lasting four weeks, which will allow the participants to put their knowledge into practice in the field and to acquire the practical experience which is crucial to any approach to database management. PROGEFIA therefore offers an innovative approach which will restructure the availability of training to the real needs of those seeking it. However, its success - which must be based on synergy and combined action - will demand a great deal of energy and commitment