CTA has two main objectives for the 2001-2005 planning period, as noted in its Strategic Plan:
- to improve the availability of and access to relevant, adequate, accurate and timely information on agricultural and rural development in ACP countries;
- to improve the information and communication management capacity of ACP agricultural and rural development organisations.
CTA defined three programme areas to achieve these objectives. The following departments implement these programmes: (1) Information Products and Services; (2) Communications Channels and Services; (3) Information and Communication Management Skills and Systems along with the monitoring activities under the (4) Planning and Corporate Services department ensures that the objectives set out in the strategic plan are implemented well, and also there is a chance to identify and translate new issues into future activities.
The website and the numerous innovative initiatives created by this Centre headquartered in Wageningen in The Netherlands makes it possible for building the cooperation among many nations through the effective use of ICTs. Online discussions, study papers, thematic conferences and a host of other information related activities and services that this Centre provides makes it one of the most valuable resources for farmers from the ACP region.
The AgriTrade portal addresses trade issues on commodity items like Rice, Banana, Sugar, Beef and Veal, which are critical export products for many countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific countries. Policies and WTO issues that are relevant to farmers and other thematic dossiers makes this a very comprehensive resource.
CTA’s bimonthly bulletin Spore, in English and French, and Esporo, in Portuguese, is a valuable repository and 111 issues have been released up to July 2004. It covers varying issues and all the bulletins in all three languages are digitized in Pdf and HTML formats. Thus making this one of the most important resources for researchers, policy makers, farmers, trade organizations etc. The 16-page bulletins carry feature articles, news items, information on forthcoming courses and conferences, news of CTA’s activities, book reviews and descriptions of information sources.
Spore Newsfeeds are produced as XML standard and can be used to link other useful websites with the newsfeeds.
Another very interesting part of the services that CTA provides is the The Knowledge for Development portal of the CTA is an S&T Observatory. The website supports the policy dialogue on S&T for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It enables the ACP scientific community – primarily agricultural research and development scientists and technologists, policy makers, farmers and other stakeholders and actors – to share and review results of national and regional efforts and collaborate to harness science and technology for the development of agriculture in their countries. For most ACP countries, the agricultural sector is a vital source of food, employment and income-generating activities and hence the engine of their economy.
To get more details to be in touch with what ICTs can do to link the farming community with experts, policy makers and markets, this is a recommended site. It also provides innovative ideas of how a simply structured portal can be made in a user-friendly format and reach out to a diverse audience. There are very useful lessons that CTA’s experiences can provide for other regions like Asia.
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU, Postbus 380 NL- 6700 AJ, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
www.cta.nl, http://agritrade.cta.int/, http://spore.cta.int/, http://knowledge.cta.int/