On-line, but off target?
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CTA. 1999. On-line, but off target?. Spore 80. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48362
workshop in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in November 1998, in collaboration with the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA).
Almost three-quarters of West Africa's agricultural research and development centres are linked to the Internet for email, yet few of them use its electronic discussion forums, although they are useful for exchanges between researchers. Nor do many of the centres publish on the World Wide Web. A recent survey undertaken for CTA pointed out the barriers to increased use of the Net and Web. They are a mixture of the centres' lack of awareness of the possibilities, poor connections, and budget restrictions. It was to address these issues that CTA organised a workshop in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in November 1998, in collaboration with the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA). Twenty managers of agricultural research and development from research institutes, farmers' organisations, and the private sector attended the workshop. They came from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. Resource people were invited from the French agricultural research centre CIRAD, the African agricultural research directors' conference CORAF, the remote sensing centre of Côte d'Ivoire, the centre for ecological monitoring of Senegal, the Belgium-based NGO Godwana, FAO and WARDA. The workshop increased awareness of existing on-line services covering agriculture and of the value of the Internet for information exchange and promotion. It also emphasised the importance of apolicy for Internet use, including investment in human resource training. (CTA's training workshops for Website design mentioned on this page are an example.) The principal practical barriers-connections and cost-were dealt with practically. Publishing on the Web can be seen as a low-cost investment with considerable returns. Use of the Internet for communication through email, and Netfax and Netphone services can significantly reduce an organisation's costs in direct phone and fax expenses. That sort of awareness can make quite a difference with hard-headed managers. A similar workshop has been scheduled for southern Africa later in 1999.