Content-• What is Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems ?• Knowledge Triangle• AKIS for rural development• Case study• Models of AKIS• Challenges for AKIS• Conclusion
Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems An AKIS is a system that links rural people andinstitutions to promote mutual learning and generate,share and utilize agriculture-related technology,knowledge and information. The system integratesfarmers, agricultural educators, researchers andextensionists to harness knowledge and information fromvarious sources for better farming and improvedlivelihoods.
Contd.. AKIS/RD systems that are financially, socially and technically sustainable; relevant and effective processes of knowledge and technology generation, sharing and uptake; AKIS/RD systems that are demand-driven through empowerment of farmers such that programmes and activities are responsive to their needs; the interface between and integration among the various education, research, extension and farming activities; and accountability to assure that stakeholders assume their respective responsibilities.
Concept and Practice of AKIS/RD The AKIS/RD concept and practice hold significantpromise for the advancement of agricultural and ruraldevelopment and more generally, national economies. Inorder to realize the value and importance of the AKIS/RDconcept, agricultural institutions need actively to promotelinkages, technology transfer, knowledge sharing and theexchange of relevant information and such an impetus tothe development of pluralistic innovation systems mustbe supported by adequate financial commitment.Fundamental to the development of an AKIS/RD isrecognition of the role of a plethora of private sectoractors (seed and input supply companies, producebuyers, chemical companies, radio and television, etc.)playing different roles within the system.
Contd… Rural people, especially farmers, are at the heart of the knowledge triangle. Education, research and extension are services - public or private - designed to respond to their needs for knowledge with which to improve their productivity, incomes and welfare and manage the natural resources on which they depend in a sustainable way. A shared responsiveness to rural people and an orientation towards their goals ensures synergies in the activities of agricultural educators, researchers and extensionists. Farmers and other rural people are partners within the knowledge system, not simply recipients.
Agriculture Knowledge InformationSystem: An Emerging Approach for Sustainable Development Saha and Mukhopadhyay (2007) reported thatthere is conceptual progression from looking atvarious institutions and practices such asfarming system development, extension andresearch in isolation to considering the linkagesbetween the pairs of these elements as anAgricultural Knowledge Information System.AKIS could involve providing farmers with abasket of opportunities and helping them tochoose the right opportunity for their situation.
The AKIS/RD vision and principles To set forth a shared vision for an integrated approach to agricultural education, research and extension that would respond to the technology, knowledge and information needs of millions of rural people, helping them to reach informed decisions on the better management of their farms, households and communities. To facilitate dialogue with decision-makers, in both government and development organizations, ensuring that proposals for investment in AKIS/RD are well founded and receive due consideration. To provide the staff of FAO and the World Bank, and their counterparts in client countries, with a common set of principles to guide their work in agricultural education, research and extension. To ensure synergies from complementary investments in education, research and extension, resulting in more effective and efficient systems.
An idealized AKIS/RD model This model suggests the numerous elements in AKIS/RD. In fact, itcould be made messier in that the policy, physical and humanresources, communications and institutional elements should beconnected to each of the four main sets of institutions - research,extension, education and support systems - which themselves shouldinclude both public and private sector entities.
Challenges of AKIS• Most poor people depend on Agriculture• Food needs call for steady growth in Agricultural Production• Improving rural incomes and raising Agricultural production will often require Agricultural Intensification• Agricultural intensification must be balanced with environmental sustainability
Contd----• Rural people also look to knowledge and information systems for guidance on how to bring about general improvements in their livelihoods• For people living in this environment, Knowledge is key
Contd----• Many farmers fail to benefit from technological and other advances• The AKIS/RD institutions have not been responsive enough in addressing the problems and opportunities facing farmers
New opportunities exist for raising AKIS/RD effectivenessAdvances in the Agricultural sciences are crucialbut other advances are also needed 1) Communication and InformationTechnologies are advancing rapidly 2) New concepts are emerging for participationin learning and problem solving
CONCLUSION: FROM IDEA INTO ACTION Government also needs to create the conditions necessary for developing AKIS/RD. Investment in market development and support to input providers, especially credit and supply institutions, are needed to stimulate the agricultural community, and attention to the rural physical infrastructure is needed to make the environment attractive and safe. Agricultural producers, especially women and poor farmers, require education and training to bring them into the modern world of labour-saving technologies and more productive practices. Joint planning between producers and institutional operators can provide the platform for advancing a demand-driven system of technological innovation for agricultural development. System leaders and managers need a better understanding of the dynamic nature of both national and international technology systems, and should be able to identify those areas where the public system has a comparative advantage over private sector R&D firms. The development of AKIS/RD is attractive to the private sector. Major roads that link towns will almost certainly have to be built, or at least funded, by government. The benefits from roads will be widely spread and accrue as much to the public as to the private sector regarding access to clientele, or potential clientele. In the short and - especially - the long terms, private sector issues of distribution and dynamic efficiency promise to be enhanced as a result of government commitment to AKIS/RD.