Exploring new channels of communication
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CTA. 2005. Exploring new channels of communication. Spore 117. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47956
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore117.pdf
The CTA Annual Report 2004, available again on CD-ROM this year, outlines some of the most recent developments at the Centre.
When CTA was launched 2 decades ago, its brief was to use the transfer of agricultural information to boost the profitability of small-scale rural producers in ACP countries. In parallel with the dramatic developments seen in the field of information technologies since those early days, CTA s own strategies have also undergone sweeping changes. For although traditional communication tools still have an important role to play including, we are pleased to say, our own Spore magazine the Centre has developed an impressive array of state-of-the-art instruments which enable it to share information more quickly and among a wider audience. The CTA Annual Report 2004, available again on CD-ROM this year, outlines some of the most recent developments at the Centre. Key examples are CTA s five web portals. Many Spore readers are already familiar with Agricta, Knowledge for Development, ICT Update and Agritrade, all of which continue to attract a dedicated band of users. These have now been joined by Anancy (see Spore 116), which serves as a gateway to global online sources of agricultural information, as well as offering users easy access to CTA s other information sources. Technological developments aside, it has been an action-packed year at CTA, with a busy schedule of internal and external seminars and workshops. The highlights of the year were the celebrations in June, organised to mark the Centre s 20th anniversary. Guest speakers included Dr Monty Jones, winner of the 2004 World Food Prize for his work on New Rice for Africa (NERICA), two previous directors of CTA, and some of the Centre s earliest partners and beneficiaries. You will find details of all these events in the Annual Report, as well as accounts of a host of other activities, including CTA s involvement in agricultural distance learning networks, progress made by CTA s revamped Brussels office and contacts with new EU member states. A warm welcome was extended to six new Pacific states in the ACP group. And CTA s Director for the past 5 years, Carl B. Greenidge, whose term of office ended in February 2005, made his goodbyes. In his Introduction to the Annual Report, Mr Greenidge acknowledges that some progress has been made in raising awareness of CTA a goal outlined in last year s report. But although the Centre s public image is sharper than it was, more still needs to be done to ensure recognition for the importance of CTA s work, and of agriculture in general. Being realistic, that is likely to remain an uphill struggle. As the outgoing Director remarks drily: Agriculture is not one of the sexy subjects . LivresCTA Annual Report 2004 CTA, Wageningen, 2005, 116 p. ISBN 92 9081 287 7 CTA number 1238 0 credit points Downloadable in sections or in full from www.cta.int Africa and agricultural innovation Africa s ability to respond to the many agricultural challenges facing it will depend largely on its capacity for innovation. That is the key message from Dr Monty Jones, author of the Special Paper in the CTA Annual Report 2004. Among areas needing urgent attention are sustainable land management, water control, market access, food supply and agricultural research and technology. All these pressing needs are set against a forbidding background of rapid population growth, the spread of poverty-related diseases, and challenges posed by climate change and globalisation. But Dr Jones, who is Executive Secretary of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), is not one to sit and wring his hands, and this paper has the positive slant that one might expect from the man who invented a new variety of rice for the continent. He looks at concrete initiatives, set up by FARA, as well as other institutions, to help Africa answer some of its challenges. Among them are programmes to give African farmers better access to agricultural information, and to new proven technologies, including his own NERICA. Among CTA initiatives highlighted in the paper are the Knowledge for Development and Agritrade web portals, the programme to analyse national agricultural science and technology systems (ASTI) in ACP countries and the Centre s involvement in BASIC (Building African Scientific and Institutional Capacity), a programme which aims to reinvigorate the agriculture sector in African further education. The Special Paper is also available, free-of- charge, from CTA, separately from the Annual Report. 14 pp. CTA number 1240 PDS subscribers please use your publication order forms