Assessment of agricultural information needs in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States for CTA’s Products and Services: Country Study: Mozambique
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Ribeiro, Vera ; Norfolk, Simon ; Terra Firma Lda. 2006. Assessment of agricultural information needs in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States for CTA’s Products and Services: Country Study: Mozambique. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52367
The objectives of this study are to develop a strategy for CTA’s approach to post-conflict countries, to improve the effectiveness of CTA’s support for post-conflict countries and to compile baseline data on the status of ICM and ICTs in agriculture..
Executive summary Introduction CTA works primarily through intermediary organisations and partners (non-governmental organisations, farmers’ organisations, regional organisations) to promote agriculture and rural development and to deliver its various information products and capacity building services. By partnering with these organisations, CTA seeks to increase the number of ACP organisations capable of generating and managing information and developing their own information and communication management strategies. In the period 2003 – 2005, CTA undertook a series of needs assessment studies in 21 countries in the ACP Pacific and Caribbean. As a continuation of this process, CTA have now commissioned assessments of the agricultural information needs of 6 countries emerging from prolonged conflict situations in ACP Africa, including Mozambique, which forms the focus of this report. Objectives of the Study The objectives of this study are to develop a strategy for CTA’s approach to post-conflict countries, to improve the effectiveness of CTA’s support for post-conflict countries and to compile baseline data on the status of ICM and ICTs in agriculture and rural development in Mozambique. Methodology The country profile was produced through a desk study. This study relied heavily on information available on the internet and additional information was obtained from various institutions in Mozambique, internationally and from key informants. Through the desk study we were able to identify a list of nine key institutions. This list was discussed with CTA and informants in Mozambique and face to face interviews were requested with each institution. Of these, seven of the institutions agreed, whilst one indicated that it would be closing its operations within a year and was therefore removed from the list. Expected results This study will provide: 1) an inventory of the status of agricultural information services, institutions and other actors and their needs as their relate to physical infrastructure, information availability and access and human capacity development; 2) an assessment of the current and / or planned interventions of the government and bi- or multilateral agencies in the field of information for agriculture and rural development; 3) an overview of the needs of potential partners for CTA activities and services in terms of building capacity for information and communication management; 4) a short-list of potential partners / beneficiaries for CTA activities and services; 5) baseline data to facilitate subsequent monitoring activities. The study will also provide a framework for CTA to develop a framework for action and fashion a strategy aimed at institutions in countries emerging from conflict situations and provide input into its 2006 – 2010 strategic plan. Findings Following the signing of a peace agreement in 1992 to end 16 years of conflict, Mozambique has achieved impressive economic growth and lowered its prevalence of poverty. Sustained by strong foreign investment, real GDP in Mozambique has been growing at rates in excess of 7 percent for the last 4 consecutive years, and per capita income in US dollars has increased by nearly 50 percent between 2001 and 2004. Mozambique’s economic growth, however, implies an important transformation in the composition of its GDP, although services remain the dominant sector. The share of industry in total GDP increased to 27 percent in 2004 from about 16 percent in 1996, whereas the share of agriculture decreased to 23 percent from about 30 percent in the same period. The agricultural sector, however, still supports 80 percent of the economically active population, and agriculture still provides major export earnings from commodities such as prawns and fish, cotton, sugar, timber and cashew nuts. The forestry sector also has an important role in the country, contributing 4 percent of gross domestic product and supplying about 80 percent of the energy used. There is no unified policy or strategy in Mozambique with regard to the management of agricultural information and broad dissemination networks are not well developed. Institutions that fall outside of the state or donor worlds often find it difficult to get hold of information. Information exchange between institutions tends to be informal rather than structured. Agricultural research generally is restricted by the insufficient number of scientists who can formulate and carry out studies relevant to Mozambican needs. Budgets for information management tend to be a low priority. In-house capacity for maintaining and troubleshooting computer networks is a constraint; reliance is made upon private companies specialised in IT. Retention of staff at the centre with IT skills, in the face of competition from the private sector, was cited as a problem by all of the state agencies. Building the capacities of in-house staff was therefore felt to be important. Existing websites, maintained by some of the key institutions vary in their effectiveness as publishing outlets and often tend to be reflections of the institution, its structure and its work programme, rather than being designed specifically to disseminate information, reports, studies, etc. that are produced, or to act as advocacy tools. Use of radio as a means of disseminating information in vernacular languages is still rather limited. Problems in this respect are the costs of translation and payments for the transmissions. Training in how to pass information on to low literacy groups was also indicated by several agencies. This included training in more effective writing skills and training in how to compile radio programmes and audio visual materials. There is a general lack of metadata; documentation on who is doing what and types of available information is generally poor. This has a double negative effect. On one hand, potential data and information users have difficulties finding or getting access to relevant information and on the other hand, information suppliers do not know what they have, which prevents better organisation of information for dissemination. Conclusions Most of the institutions which we interviewed have fairly well-developed links to relevant sources of information; data on the functioning of markets, prices and production levels in the agriculture and fisheries sectors has vastly improved in recent years. Some of these agencies need information on regional and international markets and production levels. Technical data is still harder to source, particularly in Portuguese. There are information needs regarding developments in thinking on food security, forms and means of supporting organisations at community level, participatory approaches to resource management, information on low cost technologies for increasing production and conserving produce, on gender, on HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation strategies and on general rural development issues. Respondents requested capacity building in information management to increase the effectiveness of their organisations. Government services and NGO staff indicated the importance of training in the analysis of socio-economic data. Training in the use of the internet to obtain information and in the targeting of information by library and documentation services was also a broad need. The design and development of web sites was indicated by many respondents, but it is felt that there is a particular need for support in how to conceptualise these as sources of information rather than just ‘publicity’. Training in effective communication to low literacy target audiences, in the development of extension materials and the use of radio and audio-visual materials is also important. Recommendations We recommend that CTA provide support to the development of a national IMC strategy for agricultural information that takes full advantage of the opportunities offered by the new GovNet infrastructure. The ICM strategy should ensure that information is easily available to all stakeholders in rural development. Furthermore, the ICM strategy should prevent a gap from evolving between organisations connected to GovNet and those that are not. Finally, the ICM should provide for communication channels from the rural poor to research organisations and policy makers, to ensure that research and policies are guided by the needs of poor rural households. We recommend that CTA attempts to increase the amount of information disseminated in Portuguese language, particularly in regard to food security, forms and means of supporting organisations at community level, participatory approaches to resource management, information on low cost technologies for increasing production and conserving produce, on gender, on HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation strategies and on general rural development issues. We recommend that CTA support short term research activities targeted at Mozambican-specific issues in relation to agricultural production and the conservation of produce. Links should be set up to inform IIAM and DNER about the information needs of poor farmers, women and PLWHA. These links can be set up through members organisations such as ORAM and UNAC, through Farmer Field Schools and through NGOs to which DNER has outsourced extension activities. We recommend that CTA investigate ways of supporting exchange of experience between organisations involved in training through associations and support to the development of training packages for associations. These should be provided to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of extension efforts in the field. In the long term, the required technical information can be provided to associations through newly developed training packages.