Monday, November 22, 2010

TECA - Technologies for Agriculture - at the AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair

At the AgKnowledge Share Fair, FAO showcased some good examples of knowledge sharing initiatives. One such is TECA – Technologies for Agriculture. TECA, managed by Ms. Karin Nichterlein and Ms. Estibalitz MorrasDimas from the Research and Extension Branch, Office of Knowledge Exchange Research and Extension (OEKR), is an information and communication system for proven technologies for smallholders. TECA consists of an online library for documenting and sharing of proven technologies and exchange groups for discussion, exchange and learning about challenges of agricultural producers, their information and knowledge needs and experiences addressing these challenges.

TECA is an FAO initiative that aims at improving access to information and knowledge sharing about proven technologies in order to enhance their adoption in agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry thus addressing food security, climate change, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

A few years ago, TECA was evaluated by DFID, that engaged DFID’s project leaders to screen their project portfolio for technologies validated at farm level and document them in TECA. They noted that TECA consisted of useful information but lacked interactivity allowing users to raise questions and provide feedback on technologies. As a consequence of this evaluation, a new interactive TECA platform was launched in 2009, followed by field pilot in Uganda in 2010 to test the sharing of information and technologies on the new TECA platform with different rural users.

The Uganda exchange group, as its facilitator Mr. Bruce Kisitu explains, consists of a range of stakeholder (NGOs, researchers, private/public advisory services, private sector, etc.) and aims (1) to make available “shelved research results” so that they can benefit others and (2) to ensure knowledge from Uganda, on agricultural technologies, is shared with others around the world.

So far this relatively new project has received very positive feedback”, said Bruce. However, one of the key challenges is to get engagement from researchers to share knowledge. If they do share, it is often in hard copy format which then needs to be digitised.

To know more about this project and what ideas the TECA team got from participating in the AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair, please watch the short interview of Estibalitz and Bruce, by me and my colleague Elena, below.

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