Thursday, 20 December 2007

Improved access to digitised information in fisheries in the Pacific

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Library and the Marine Resources Division have developed a full text Digital Library which is now available online.-- > More information

Agricultural information sessions at IFLA 2007

The IFLA session on Agricultural Libraries focused on the "Impact of globalisation on small farmers worldwide: implications on information transfer." -- > More information

Global knowledge reference on sustainable forest management

A recent progress report from FAO's Foresty Department reports on efforts to compile a 'global knowledge reference' on sustainable forest management (SFM). The idea is to create a repository of information on SFM with the aim of enhancing experience-sharing among countries.-- > More information

Getting information to agricultural communities in Viet Nam

A recent ID21 research highlights reports that development programmes try to improve the spread of agricultural information by involving communities in extension practices. -- > More information

Ugandan farmers call home

The agricultural biodiversity weblog reports "a great article (and some audio as well) describing how a Dutch NGO is helping Ugandan farmers exchange agricultural information using mobile phones."-- > More information

Getting agricultural and natural research into use

In June, the DFID-finance Research Into Use (RIU) programme was launched. Its approach is to shift the focus of attention away from the generation of new knowledge to the ways in which that knowledge can be put to productive use through innovation - the use, adoption, uptake or commercialization of existing knowledge.-- > More information

Sharing communication strategies in agricultural research

The CGIAR Marketing Group has brought together a useful set of materials on the communication of research.-- > More information

Communicating ACIAR research results

The 2007-2008 operational plan of ACIAR includes a short section outlining how its research results will be communicated – also their 'key performance indicators.'-- > More information

FAO as a Knowledge Organization

Collecting, analysing, interpreting and disseminating agricultural-related data and information has been a central activity of FAO since the inception of the Organization. FAO attaches paramount importance to securing the highest standards of efficiency and of technical competence in the appointment of its staff. The key challenge for FAO as a knowledge organization is to make the most of both explicit and tacit knowledge in serving Members.-- > More information

AgInfo management in Laos

Information and communication management are important aspects of the work of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institution of Laos. Through an Information Service Strategy, it seeks to improve researchers’ ability to better access and use information so as to improve the quality of their research. It has developed on-line information systems; it has also joined with the National Agriculture and Forestry Extension Service to improve research-extension linkages - a dedicated web site (Laolink) has been set up. A separate LaoEx web site provides information and key full text reports on agricultural and forestry extension.-- > More information

E-commerce for Filipino Famers and Cooperatives

In the recent WITFOR 2007 conference in Addis Ababa, Edgardo Herbosa of introduced an innovative partnership to bring e-commerce to agriculture in the Philippines.-- > More information

A 'Solution eXchange' for Indian agricultural practitioners

In India, agricultural development practitioners have used ICTs (mainly email discussions) to share experiences among the community on sustainable agricultural extension systems. They use a 'Solution eXchange' for agricultural development practitioners.-- > More information

WITFOR sessions illustrate innovative concrete ICT applications in agriculture

Speakers from 10 countries shared insights and experiences at the recent World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) Agriculture Session meetings.-- > More information

ICT Adoption - Perspectives from EFITA 2007

The papers and presentations from the 6th EFITA Conference "Environmental and Rural Sustainability through ICT" are now available. As in previous EFITA congresses, one of the major topics discussed was ICT adoption in agriculture.-- > More information

Farmer-led documentation

As part of the e-agriculture week in Rome (September 2007), PROLINNOVA, IAALD, and FAO sponsored a session on 'Farmer-Led Documentation: Local knowledge sharing in an agricultural context.'-- > More information

Interactive web-based platform in support of agriculture and rural development

The FAO announced the launch of a unique interactive web-based platform focusing on the role that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can have in supporting agriculture and rural development.-- > More information

PMN introduces cross-journal search; extension publications as well

Try your hand at Plant Management Network's new Cross-Journal Search Engine, an important new tool for those looking for credible information in the applied agricultural and plant sciences.-- > More information

PMN provides journal access to countries with developing economies

Access to all Plant Management Network online journals and resources is now available at no or reduced cost to institutions in more than 100 of the world’s poorest countries though AGORA.-- > More information

Experts discuss international information systems for agricultural science and technology

In October 2005, FAO and partners convened the first 'Expert Consultation on International Information Systems for Agricultural Science and Technology.' To assess progress and to determine next steps, a 2nd IISAST Expert Consultation was held 23-24 September in Rome as part of e-agriculture week. -- > More information

WorldAgInfo 2007: International symposium on agricultural education and information systems

The first of two workshops by the 'WorldAginfo' project was held at Cornell University from September 30-October 3, 2007.-- > More information

Web 2.0 for participatory development: Notes from Rome

This three day conference at FAO from 25-27 September provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences in the use of social networking technologies (i.e. blogs, wikis, feeds, mash-ups etc.) to build collaborative knowledge organizations.-- > More information

Open access to IRRI research

In the IRRI Library blog, Mila Ramos of the International Rice Research Institute introduces a paper by IRRI for the International Public Knowledge Project Conference in July 2007.-- > More information

CGIAR on Web 2.0 for Dev conference

Blogs, wikis,, Bebo, feeds, tags, RSS…Is this a new language? It sure is ­ it is the new and ever changing vocabulary of Web 2.0! Nadia Manning captures some of the action from Rome and explains what it might mean for the CGIAR. -- > More information

CGIAR launches new ICT and knowledge sharing web sites

The CGIAR ICT-KM Program and KS Project have launched new web sites - including blogs from the different projects and a whole new look to the knowledge sharing in the CGIAR web site.-- > More information

Knowledge sharing for rural development

The creation of mechanisms to generate and share knowledge - both among farmers and with investigators and specialist centres -, is now a condition of survival of rural communities.-- > More information

AgInfo metadata, terminology, standards update

As part of the September e-agriculture week in Rome, information and knowledge managers gathered in the Eighth Agricultural Ontology Service (AOS) Workshop. -- > More details

Knowledge and Innovation for Agricultural and Rural Development

During a Science Forum Session organized by the ICT-KM Program's Knowledge Sharing in Research Project at the CGIAR's 2007 Annual General Meeting on 4th of December, participants looked at the new paradigms surrounding knowledge and innovation for agricultural and rural development with the aim of determining what these really mean for research and development.

The meeting kicked off with an audio presentation from William C. Clarke, the Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development at Harvard University. In his presentation, which can also be downloaded from the ICT-KM Program's website, William talks about the barriers to innovation: mutual incomprehension; fragmented knowledge systems; and static, inflexible processes confronted by dynamic problems.

PANEL: Enrica Porcari, CGIAR; Bill Niebur, Pioneer;
Anton Mangstl, FAO; Carlos Sere, ILRI; Jean Lebel, IDRC

Joint Conference of IAALD, AFITA and WCCA World Congress 2008

The 12th International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) IAALD World Conference at the Atsugi Campus of the Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan 24 Aug 08 - 27 Aug 08 will provide an effective forum for agriculture related researchers and information specialists to share and discuss latest development on applications and developments in the use of Information Technologies. These include new applications of well established and understood technologies to innovative and entrepreneurial applications of emerging technologies, in addition to issues related to policy and knowledge dissemination. The Conference will also provide an appropriate forum for agricultural information specialists for information dissemination, exchange and knowledge sharing. It will cover a wide array of topics.

This congres in organised in collaboration with 6th Conference of the Asian Federation of Information Technology in Agriculture (AFITA) and the 6th World Congress on Computers in Agriculture (WCCA). In 2009 IAALD will organise the IAALD-Africa congress in Accra.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Quality standards for training and education in the CGIAR

A joint workshop of the ICT-KM Program’s Online Learning Resources (OLR) Project and the United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) will be held from 11-15 February 2008 at UNU-EHS, Bonn, Germany. The purpose of this workshop is to develop a set of policies and procedures to ensure quality training and education in the CGIAR. Click here for more information.

Collaboration for Excellence

The ICT-KM Program’s Knowledge Sharing (KS) Project is offering CGIAR staff and partners the unique opportunity to explore and experiment with knowledge-sharing principles and methods in an innovative, three-phase workshop that will kick off in March 2008 with a four-week online event. For more information on this workshop (Collaboration for Excellence: Opportunities for discovering, understanding, and applying innovative knowledge-sharing approaches for impact), please click here.

Documenting CGIAR Web-based, Collaborative Experiences

The ICT-KM Program, in keeping true to its mandate to promote and support the innovative use of IT and KM to improve the effectiveness of the CGIAR’s work, is launching a new initiative to learn about the successful use of innovative tools to support our work. The Program's Institutional Knowledge Sharing (IKS) Project would like to reward three web-based collaborative experiences with the opportunity to evaluate, document and share those experiences. Read more.

Fellowships in Sustainability Science

The Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University's Center for International Development offers doctoral, post-doctoral, and practitioner fellowships in Sustainability Science. Advanced doctoral and post-doctoral students, and professionals engaged in the practice of harnessing science and technology to promote sustainable development are encouraged to apply. For more information click here.

CGIAR-CSI Recognized Again

The CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information (CGIAR-CSI), one of the projects funded under the ICT-KM Program’s 2004 Investment Plan, continues to make waves. With support from the Program, the CSI attended the AfricaGIS Conference on Geoinformation for Poverty Alleviation in Ouagadougou, where it represented all 15 contributing CGIAR Centers. During this September 2007 event, the Consortium received notable recognition and journalistic coverage, as well as heavy traffic at its booth, where it distributed GIS material

ICT-KM and ReSAKSS Come Together

CIO Enrica Porcari recently participated in a brainstorming meeting that sought to strengthen the relationship between the ICT-KM Program and the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS). The two-day event, which was held at Bioversity International, Rome, in October 2007, followed on from the CIO’s involvement in ReSAKKS’ inception workshop back in 2003 and looked at ways of moving the existing synergy between the two organizations forward.

Knowledge sharing for rural development

The creation of mechanisms to generate and share knowledge - both among farmers and with investigators and specialist centres -, is now a condition of survival of rural communities.-- > More information

AgInfo metadata, terminology, standards update

As part of the September e-agriculture week in Rome, information and knowledge managers gathered in the Eighth Agricultural Ontology Service (AOS) Workshop. -- > More details

Agricultural knowledge and development in a new age and a different world

This paper examines developments and issues regarding agricultural knowledge systems, which affect agricultural development. -- > More details

SADC Multi-county Agricultural Productivity Programme

FARA participated at the SADC Multi-county Agricultural Productivity Programme (SADC MAPP) and SADC Sub Regional Organization (SRO) proposals discussion 11-13 December 2007 Maputo, Mozambique.

The process of the preparation of the SADC MAPP proposal underscored that the SADC MAPP Programme has been prepared to implement pillar IV of CAADP, guided by the Framework for African Agricultural Productivity (FAAP) developed by FARA. It was also emphasized that SADC member countries have shown strong interest and expectation for collaboration with stakeholders within the sub region.

The name of the proposed SRO is Centre for Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CARDESA).

Monday, 17 December 2007

Revision of the FARA Medium Term Operational Plan (MTOP)

John Sutherland and Jesse J. McCorry (left) participated at the MTOP taskforce

A FARA taskforce team was set up to review the FARA Mid Term Operational Plan (10-14/12/2007). This five-year Medium Term and Operational Plan for 2008 – 2012 sets out in more detail how the Forum, with the intervention of FARA’s Secretariat, will move towards achievement of the objectives of the Strategic Plan.

It responds to the many changes that have occurred in African agriculture and takes advantage of FARA’s growing capacity to set out an ambitious but pragmatic agenda for the next five years.

Change management at FARA

Interview with Jesse J. McCorry, USAID consultant

Jesse McCorry explains that change management is a process to help organisations to systematically adapt to structural and/or environmental changes and the way they will carry out their business. It requires a very close attention of senior management leadership and above all the bulk of the staff to understand what change management is supposed to address. Change mamagement is an effort to respond better to what an organisation's clientele wants.

Jesse McCorry gives an answer to "Does FARA needs a change" and "Is FARA a dynamic organisation"?

Cake cutting at FARA

It is not an everyday experience at FARA: cutting the cake for a particular celebration.

But at the end of this 2007 year FARA staff rejoiced over the approval of two project proposals of which formulation & negotiation has been going on for several months and required the full energy and attention of the whole FARA office: SSA-CP and SCARDA.


The purpose of the SCARDA programme “to strengthen the institutional and human capacity of African agricultural research and development systems to identify, generate and deliver research outputs that meet the needs of poor people”.

SCARDA will achieve this purpose by working with key research and development institutions in sub-Saharan Africa to help them fulfil their mandates more effectively. These institutions, most of which have been identified in the scoping studies, will be selected through established SRO procedures.

The initial 30-month Implementation Phase of SCARDA will be funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). Funding will be provided to FARA who will be accountable to DFID for management of resources in accordance with the DFID granting agreement. FARA will have responsibility for coordinating project implementation. In order to meet this responsibility, FARA will appoint a permanent programme coordinator and a programme officer for the duration of the project and provide her/him with the necessary resources to fulfil this role.

The primary activities of SCARDA will be:
  • Short courses; post-training support, including individual mentoring; reflective learning; attachments and exposure visits.
  • Technical areas will be addressed through MSc degrees, short courses, fellowships and a mentoring programme.
  • ‘Tracer’ studies to identify key skills gaps in graduates from agricultural Faculties who are employed in a range of public and private organizations.
  • Learning platforms will be established to document and share experiences and good practice and these will be coordinated through a Learning Alliance approach


The SSA CP is a research programme focussed on delivering international public goods on best practices for multi-stakeholder engagement in the generation and wide-scale adoption of agricultural innovations and on evaluating whether IAR4D works and is more cost/benefit effective relative to conventional approaches. After satisfactorily answering the above research questions, the SSA CP will metamorphose into a clearing house for promoting the adoption of IAR4D by serving as a platform for sharing information and knowledge on agricultural innovation and multi-stakeholder (partnership) engagement in ARD.

FARA has successfully completed the inception phase for this Programme and with the stakeholders, has produced a Medium Term Plan for implemetation covering the period of 2007- 2010. The Science Council of the CGIAR in their meeting in August of 2007 has expressed some concerns on the MTP concerning the methodology describing the proof of concept for the IAR4D concept. This led to futher consultations and a review of the research methodology to ensure a rigorous proof of concept for IAR4D.

At the last AGM meeting in China, the SSA CP was discussed on 07/12/2007 and the CGIAR asked the Programme to continue with the new research methodology which has now cleared all the residual concerns of the Science Council of the CGIAR regarding the proof of concept.

Not only that, some African countries in the CGIAR notably South Africa and Egypt expressed their satisfaction with the SSA CP and their desire to support it and support FARA financially.

Semi-Arid Food Grain Research and Development

FARA participated at the meeting of the Semi-Arid Food Grain Research and Development (AU-SAFGRAD) 12-13 December 2007 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the organisation of a 2-day Conference on ‘Development of Rural Livelihoods in Semi-Arid Africa: issues, challenges and opportunities’. This conference will be organized by AU-SAFGRAD in Addis Ababa during April 2008 and 100-150 participants are expected.

The Semi-arid Africa Agriculture Research and Development (SAFGRAD) of the African Union (AU) is the institutional focal point for coordinating the Network on the Promotion of Sustainable Agricultural Farming Systems in Africa in the context of the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) in Africa.

AU/SAFGRAD is a specialized office, under the Rural Economy and Agriculture (REA) Department of the African Union Commission. AU/SAFGRAD’s mandate is to enhance coordination and cooperation in agricultural research, technology transfer and commercialisation as well as the management of natural resources in order to improve food security through promotion of sustainable agriculture and efficient water management in rural and peri-urban areas of semi-arid zones in Africa. SAFGRAD has accumulated a strong continent wide background in:
  • developing and disseminating improved crop varieties and their adoption by farmers;
  • supporting the establishment of sub-regional networks on food crop production, processing and marketing involving hundred of researchers from various countries to tackle common constraints;
  • building capacities through short and long term training, and workshops; and
  • improving knowledge on semi-arid agriculture through technical information sharing and networking.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Farmer Participatory Research and Development Twenty years on

FARA participated to an international workshop, ‘Farmer First Revisited', at IDS from 12-14 December 2007 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original ‘Farmer First' event. The conference is hosted by the Future Agricultures Consortium in association with the STEPS Centre at Sussex.

The workshop was organised around three inter-related themes:
1. Agricultural innovation systems – putting farmers first?
2. Organising agricultural research and development for the 21st century
3. Methodological innovation, personal and organisational change

Expected Outputs and Outcomes: Towards a ‘Pro-Poor Innovation Alliance’.

The full workshop outputs, including presentations, papers and proceedings, will be posted on a dedicated web page for the event. In addition, a book will follow in 2008, offering (highly edited) highlights of papers and plenary discussions.

In bringing together a diverse range of participants the aim of this ‘Farmer First Revisited’ event will not only be to spark critical reflection and debate, but also to build a community of practice around the challenges of pro-poor science and technology for agricultural research and development.

Such a network – which we have provisionally labelled the ‘Pro-Poor Innovation Alliance’ – can potentially develop as an important player in emerging global initiatives in the field of agricultural research and development, whether in the context of the follow up to the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), the implementation of the science and technology strategies of the African Union’s NEPAD CAADP agenda or the Gates/Rockefeller Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

GK3: Global Knowledge conference

Organised in Kuala Lumpur from 11/12 till 13/12/2007 by the Global Knowledge Partnership, the GK3 focused on the uses of ICT in Development (ICT4D).

GK3 brought together over 1,600 visionaries, international leaders, practitioners and policy-makers to engage on the theme: Emerging People, Emerging Markets, Emerging Technologies.

The GK3 Core Programme comprised over 40 expert panels with interactive debates about the latest trends, innovations and future perspectives. Policy makers, leaders, innovators, visionaries, knowledge management specialists, broadcasters, practitioners and futurists discussed hot topics around the interplay of emerging people, markets and technologies. Of particular interest were the sessions on:


'e-Agriculture - Continuing Dialogue to Action' will consider the unique factors related to enhancing sustainable agricultural development and food security by improving the use of information, communication, and associated technologies in the e-Agriculture sector.
Pannellist Aida Opoku-Mensah, Director, ICT and Science & Technology Division (ISTD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
This session addressed the following key questions:
  • What is the policy dimension of e-Agriculture today, and how might this change in the future?
  • Where are the limitations in the use of ICT in rural development?
  • What are the biggest constraints to the expansion of e-Agriculture?
  • How can organisations join forces in an economically smart way to increase working capacities and efficiency?
Building Knowledge Societies, What Makes the Difference? People or Policies in Africa?

This session addressed the following key questions:
What are the key features of the knowledge and information Society in Africa?
Can knowledge and information transform African societies? If so how?
What will make the difference? People or Policies?
How can people be empowered in the Information and Knowledge societies?
Moderator Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

GK3 Sessions on Emerging Financing Mechanisms

'Financing Change in ICT4D: Innovative and Emerging Social Investors and Donors' gathered key representatives from traditional donor agencies and corporations to highlight emerging forms of ICT4D funding. They include UNESCO's Abdul Waheed Khan, the Inter-American Development Bank's Danilo Piaggesi, IDRC's Rohinton Medhora and Microsoft's Frank McCosker.

'Electronic Banking with the Poor: Emerging Technologies for Financial Inclusion' showed how innovative electronic banking utilising mobile phone, ATMs, micro-credit cards and other new technologies are achieving financial inclusion for people who are otherwise excluded from participating in the digital economy.
See programme for all the presentations.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Europe-Africa summit

European and African leaders will seek to forge a fresh partnership to tackle issues like trade, immigration and peacekeeping this week when they hold their first summit in seven years. Pressed by China's growing investment and influence in Africa, EU leaders hope to reinforce ties with the world's poorest continent by improving cooperation on several fronts and moving away from dependence-inducing aid. EU president Portugal says the EU-Africa summit is long overdue -- the last was held in Cairo in 2000. Rapid growth in many parts of Africa holds out the hope that the continent is now on a sustainable development path. That should encourage Europe to view Africa as an investment opportunity and not just a recipient of aid.

The Dec. 8-9 2007 summit will focus on five main issues: governance and human rights, peace and security, migration, energy and climate change, and trade.

Portugal, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, wants the Europe-Africa summit to herald a period of closer cooperation between the 27-nation EU and the 53-member African Union and counter the influence of China, which has invested billions of euros (dollars) in developing African countries in recent years.

- 52 Member States of the African Union;
- Kingdom of Morocco;
- African Commission;
- 27 Member States of the European Union;
- European Commission;
- General-Secretariat of the Council of the EU

EU-Africa Summit website
DG Development

Science Animations: Movies & Interactive Tutorial Links

The use of a well-placed animation in a lecture can help illuminate any number of important concepts in the sciences. Educators seeking high-quality animations need look no further than this very useful site created by staff members at North Harris Community College. The animations are divided into a number of topics, including plants, ecology, astronomy, geology, anatomy, and biology. Each section contains links to a host of fascinating and helpful animations from institutions like Florida State University, Cambridge University Press, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Alberta. As a note, the astronomy and physics areas are particularly strong, and visitors would do well to take a look at the lunar and planetary time-lapse animations offered up by Antonio Cidadão.

General Collections
MedMotion (mainly fetal and new born information)
Interactive Biochemistry by Rodney F. Boyer
Immune & Other Cellular Animations (advanced) Cambridge University Press
Chemistry Animations Iowa State University
Biology 7th Ed. Animations McGraw-Hill
Anatomy & Physiology Wiley Publishers complied by Carl Shuster
Essential Study Partner for Biology McGraw Hill
Powers of Ten Molecular Expressions - Florida State University McGraw Hill
Adam animations
Science - Human Body BBCi
Interactive Health Tutorials MEDLINEplus
Life the Science of Biology W.H. Freeman
Chemistry Animations Louisiana State University
Life the Science of Biology W. H. Freeman & Co.
Anatomy & Physiology Animations Marieb
NASA Simulations
Live Scicence
Biology Animations Carnegie Mellon
Teachers' Instructional Graphics Educational Resource NCSSM

Microbiologie Animations by Laurent Martorell Académie de Créteil
Phagocytosis and Bacterial Pathogens Thomas M. Terry at Univ. of Conn.
TB Infection Timeline Rockefeller University
Immunology W H Freeman
Microbiology & Cellular Animations Kuby
Antibiotics Attack by HHMI
How Anthrax Infects BBC
Bacterial Growth Timothy Paustian
Salmonella plusE.coli infection mechanism by HHMI
Bacterial conjugation by HHMI
Coccidiosis Karin Christensen - Scientific, Medical and Veterinary Illustration
Bacteria movement University of Leicester
Plasmid Cloning Sumanas Inc.
Anthrax Sumanas Inc.
Malaria, Peptic Ulcer, Anthrac and Antibiotic Resistance Sumanas Inc.
Helicobacter pylori and Gastric Pathology John Hopkins
Life Cycles of Malaria, Onchocerciasis,Leishmaniasis,Lymphatic filariasis,Schistosomiasis Liquid Jigsaw
Life Cycle of Malaria McGraw-Hill
Emerging Infectious Diseases Annenberg/CPB

Viral Infection by HHMI
Viral Subunit Reassortment by HHMI
Micro Video Library University of Leicester
Herpes Virus Replication animation by Karin Christensen
LabWork University of Leicester
Herpes Infection Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine
Virology Flash Animations University of South Carolina School of Medicine
Various Immune Animations University of Alberta
Life Cycle of Hepatitis C John Hopkins
Life Cycle of Hepatitis B John Hopkins
ELISA Activity University of Arizona
Making Viruses PBS
Basic Virology Blackwell Publishing
Identify the Disease Koshland Science Museum
Molecular Medicine in Action Indiana University

Leaf Structure
Plant Life Cycles
The Fungi Kingdom: Common Characteristics of Fungi Wisconsin Online
The Plant Kingdom: An Introduction Wisconsin Online
Fruit: Triumph of the Angiosperms Wisconsin Online
Chytridiomycetes Wisconsin Online
The Basidiomycetes of the Fungi Kingdom Wisconsin Online
The Ascomycetes Wisconsin Online
The Zygomycetes Wisconsin Online
Various Botany Animations University of Alberta
Transgenic Plants University of Nebraska
Sucrose Transport by Terry Brown
Regulation of Guard Cells by Terry Brown
Life Cycle of a Moss Sumanas Inc.
Plants in Motion
Sugar Transport in Plants Peerason Canada
What Tree is it? Ohio Public Library Information Network
Cambium Growth Photosynthesis Forest Biology Virginia Tech
Plant Animations to Download Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

How Ozone is Made Air Info Now
Greenhouse Effect University of California.
One World Journeys Expeditions
Various Ecology Animations University of Alberta
How to Remove a Bee Stinger

Fetal Pig Anatomy zeroBio
Frog Dissection Video zeroBio
Life Cycles of Plants and Animals Wisconsin Online
Pond Life Videos Florida State University
Various Animal Animations University of Alberta
On the Trail of the BowerbirdPBS - NOVA
Interactive Grasshopper Anatomy Iowa State University
Alien Empire (Insects) Nature
Asconoid Sponge Nebraska Wesleyan University
Dictyostelium by Harvey Project
Sea Urchin Embryology Stanford University
The Functioning Animal Thames Valley School District
Bird's Lungs San Diego State University
Earthworm Eating Michele Matossian
Behaviors Sumanas Inc.
Solar Compass Sumanas Inc.
Hibernation BrooksCole
Life Cycle of a Frog

Resources for Earth Science and Geography Central Michigan University
Britians Rocky Past - Geological Time Line
Plate Tectonics from PBS
Planet Quest - Interactive Gallery NASA
US Geology Sumanas Inc.
Gallery of Flash Animations University of Leeds
Animation List W.W. Norton and Company
Animations, Physical Geology Focus Florida Tech
Plate tectonics C. R. Scotese Publications
West Virginia University
Exploring Earth
Severe and Hazardous WeatherUniversity of Illinois

GLAST - Gamma-ray Large Area Space Microscope
Demos and Animations for Teaching Astronomy University of Illinois
Moon Phases, etc. Sumanas Inc.
Retrograde Motion La Salle University
The Universe Freeman and Co.
ESA Space Science
BBC Space Interactives
Lectures with Animations by H. Tahsiri, California State University, Long Beach
Astronomy Animations Dr Cecilia Barnbaum, Valdosta State University
Astronomy Education Animation Page Aerospace Educational Development Program
Lunar and Planetary Time-lapse Animation A.Cidadão
Astronomy Learning Center McGraw-Hill
Animations for Astronomy 101 Eric Sandquist, San Diego State University
Animations for Physics and Astronomy by Dr. Michael R. Gallis, Penn State Schuylkill
WMAP Related Media Resources

Einstein Light School of Physics UNSW
The Physical Universe Northeastern University
Galileo's Battle of the Heavens PBS - NOVA
Interactive Physics and Math with Java Sergey A. Kiselev
Flash Animations for Physics by David M. Harrison, Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Toronto
The Physics Classroom
Flash Modules on Energy and Electricity Pennsylvania State University
Multimedia Physics Studios Tom Henderson of Glenbrook South High School
Interactive Plasma Physics Education Experience! Princeton
Physics Animations/Simulations Doug Craigen's Physics Pages
Applet Thumbnails from Einstein's Legacy Physics 2000
Why the Towers Fell - Try Hot Science PBS - NOVA
Explore Science - Multimedia Activities
Fear of Physics
Virtual Physics University of Hawaii
Color/Spectrum AppletzRochester Institute of Technology
Electromagnetic Wave Absorption and Emission
Computer Animations of Physical Processes
Ohm Zone Article 19 Group Inc
Physical Chemistry Animations Tom Greenbowe at Iowa State University
Science of Sound and Light Learning and Teaching Scotland
Animated Engines Matt Keveney
IEEE - Virtual Museum Exhibits
How the First Atomic Bomb Worked
Michael Faraday's Induction Ring
How Magnets Make a DC Motor Work
The Inside Story of a Vacuum Tube
How do Semicondutors Work?
How Does a Transittor Work?
How the Picture Tube Works
How a Laser Works
Electromagnetic Spectrum
Cavity Magnetron
Cell Phone Tracking
Geosynchronous Satellite
Edison's Phonograph
Sound on Film

Thursday, 6 December 2007

IPR: Designing Regimes to Support Plant Breeding in Developing Countries

A study for the World Bank Designing Regimes to Support Plant Breeding in Developing Countries (2006) presented by co-author Niels Louwaars at the AGM CGIAR revealed a diversity of responses by managers of public research to the emergence of Intelectual Property Rights (IPRs). They are hailed in their capacity to increase recognition, to facilitate public private partnerships (PPPs) and to generate revenue for the institute and the scientists. Few institutions have analysed the costbenefit ratio of IPRs in terms of monetary income. The general feeling is that very few institutions make a significant profit from patents; the expectations from breeder’s rights are higher, particularly in NARS in developing countries. However, there is a risk that such NARS will change their focus when they become dependent on such revenue: away from poor farmers and away from crops where a private seed sector cannot easily develop (eg. most legumes and root crops).


Science meeting AGM CGIAR 03/12/2007 Session 3B. Making IPRs work for Pro-poor Agricultural Innovation by Dr. Niels Louwaars (Wageningen University, NL) co-author of the above mentionned World Bank study (he made a similar presentation at CTA 6th AC on ST&I 15/11/2007).

Public-Private Partnerships in International Agricultural Research. David J. Spielman, Frank Hartwich, and Klaus von Grebmer IFPRI, Nov. 2007. This research brief examines how PPPs in agricultural research stimulate investment in pro-poor innovation in developing country agriculture. David Spielman made a presentation at CTA 6th AC on ST&I 13/12/2007.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Developing M&E Framework for the CAADP

Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support Systems (ReSAKSS)

FARA participated at A ReSAKSS / Africa Union / NEPAD Workshop on Developing M&E Framework for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), December 3rd and 4th, 2007 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The goal of this meeting was:

  • To review and discuss the development of an M&E framework for monitoring and evaluation of the CAADP
  • To decide on a course of action for developing the framework, benchmarks and indicators over the next four months (what, how, who, and when)
  • To recommend a course of action for implementing the framework (including roles and responsibilities, scope, timeframe, and reporting) and finalize the framework for review at the next CAADP PP Meeting in March 2008

Participants at the ReSAKSS meeting

CGIAR Annual General Meeting - Science Forum

CGIAR Annual General Meeting 2007 organised Tuesday, December 4, 2007 a Science Forum aimed at fostering dialogue about scientific achievements and opportunities.
FARA participated at the Parallel Session Theme 1: Science at Work for Sustainable Agriculture and its Multiple Roles. Sub-Saharan Africa

Rapporteur: Harry Palmier / Moderator: Kwesi Atta-Krah (Bioversity)
Presenter: Ida Sithole-Niang (University of Zimbabwe)
Discussants: Hartmann (IITA), Monty Jones (FARA)
Idah Sithole-Niang, Department of Biochemistry, University of Zimbabwe made a presentation on : Scientific Achievements for Agricultural Development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
What have been the major scientific achievements in and beyond the CGIAR, and what lessons have been learned?
  • Scientific achievements in Agricultural research in SSA clearly result from multi-institutional cooperation between international and national scientific and technological communities
  • Recent breakthroughs exemplify this: NERICAs (New Rice for Africa), biological control of cassava mealybug; quality protein maize; “Strigaway”; push & pull; chemical ecology
    CGIAR has contributed immensely to the development of African agriculture research but the partnership still has to be improved/ strengthened.
  • More emphasis needs to be put on alignment to NARS/SROs priorities and equitable sharing of resources.
  • Potential “snow balling effect” towards farmers fields is yet to be exploited
  • There is need to adopt comprehensive innovation systems
  • Science works in (and for) SSA, but science should be complemented by better agricultural policies, markets, soil fertility interventions, land tenure, and access to credit by small farmers.
  • Capacity building was implicit in all success stories, and NARS are explicitly calling for the CGIAR to remain active in this essential domain; it is key for sustainability.
  • Solid national government investment in agricultural research is a prerequisite for equal partnerships.

Expertise of African women in the agricultural sciences

Confronting the disparity between the role of African women in farming and their limited presence in the agriculture sciences, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Gender & Diversity Program launched at the CGIAR Beijing conference an unprecedented $13 million effort that will support the fast-tracking of careers of at least 360 African women in agricultural research. Participating countries include Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The Nairobi-based African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) program is being funded with a four-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant represents the Foundation’s belief in the importance of engaging women at every level in agricultural development. Today, women farmers produce 60 to 80 percent of crops critical to feeding the people of Africa. Yet women comprise less than 20 percent of agricultural researchers. Specifically, the program seeks to achieve a:

  • 25 percent increase in African women with BSc degrees participating as members of research teams in at least 20 agricultural institutions in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • 50 percent increase in African women with masters degrees managing research teams and producing improved farm technologies at these institutions;
  • 50 percent increase in African women PhDs serving in influential leadership roles and as role models and mentors to younger women;
  • Significant increase in the number of African girls and young women inspired to pursue careers in agricultural research and development; and
  • Significant increase in the number of men and women aware of the importance of women’s voices and contributions to agriculture in Africa.
“We cannot fight hunger and poverty in Africa, particularly in the struggling regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, unless women have a strong voice not just on the farm, but in the lab,” said Vicki Wilde, head of the CGIAR Gender & Diversity Program, at the CGIAR Annual General Meeting in Beijing where the grant was announced. “It is urgent that we increase the number of African women in agricultural research. We are thrilled that the Gates Foundation is funding our work in this area.”

Bussiness Daily: Women scientists to benefit from $13 million grant
EurekAlert: Gates Foundation funds new effort

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The World Food Situation: New Driving Forces and Required Actions

“The World Food Situation: New Driving Forces and Required Actions” was released on 3rd December 2007 at the annual general meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

“Food prices have been steadily decreasing since the Green Revolution, but the days of falling food prices may be over,” said Joachim von Braun, lead author of the report and director general of IFPRI. “Surging demand for feed, food, and fuel have recently led to drastic price increases, which are not likely to fall in the foreseeable future, due to low stocks and slow-growing supplies of agricultural outputs. Climate change will also have a negative impact on food production, compounding the challenge of meeting global food demand, and potentially exacerbating hunger and malnutrition among the world’s poorest people.” “Economic growth has helped to reduce hunger, particularly when it is equitable,” added von Braun. “But unfortunately, growth does not always reach the poorest people.” "The last time the world experienced such food price increases was in 1973 to 1974 ... but today the situation is completely different. For one, the climate risk and climate change situation has increased, the climate vulnerability has increased," von Braun told reporters in Beijing.

The forces pushing up food prices
1 Rising consumption: The appetite of fast-growing nations, such as China, is rising as economic booms cause a surge in demand for meat and dairy products
2 Competition from biofuels: The cars of the rich are now rivalling the bellies of the poor for corn, cane and edible oils
3 Climate change: Global warming is putting pressure on water needed to irrigate crops

Radio interview with von Braun: AM-ABC
Agence de Presse Africaine: Rising food prices threatens Africa
IPS: Food Prices Climbing, With No End in Sight
Eurekalert: New report examines the impact of growth, climate change and biofuels
Associated Press: World Food Prices to Rise
Reuters: World faces food shortages, price rises
CNN: World food prices to jump
The Guardian: Riots and hunger feared as demand for grain sends food costs soaring

Other reports:
Full references for following papers were not available at time of publication.
  • "Crop and Pasture response to climate change" Francesco Tubiello, Goddard Institute of Space Studies, USA
  • "Global food security under climate change" Josef Schmidhuber, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Italy
  • "Adapting agriculture to climate change" S Mark Howden, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia

FADECO Community Radio

Joseph Sekiku heads the Family Alliance for Development and Co-operation (FADECO), a nonprofit organization in Tanzania that shows farmers how to raise their standard of living through environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. His intense appetite for communications has had astonishing results. He has created a mini information empire founded on the principle that knowledge is power. Joseph’s latest enterprise, FADECO FM, is Karagwe’s first radio station. Joseph estimates that the information he generates reaches nearly one-quarter of the district’s 450,000 residents.
Joseph Sekiku in his studio holding
a part of his FADECO radio.
At breakfast time farmers can tune into Kilimo Chetu (Our Agriculture) to listen to answers to their agricultural problems. Midmorning there is Habari za Masoko (Market News) to find out the prices their crops are currently fetching on the market. Tanzania does not publish commodity prices so Joseph downloads the information from the Kampala Agricultural Commodity Exchange. And there is no problem in converting to Tanzanian shillings; he gets
the daily exchange rate off the internet too.

Dar es Salaam is a 1500-kilometre trip over bad roads so Joseph encourages farmers to market their produce across the border in Uganda. He fi nds outlets by surfi ng the web. His latest pet project is the promotion of soya beans. Programmes explain how to farm and process soya and detail its wide range of uses. He envisages soya as a profi table export crop. China, he says, is ready to buy 600 tonnes and upwards. He has already located a willing buyer there from a
Chinese website. FADECO FM would not have been possible without RAIN’s intervention.

Taking stock of RAIN: 2003–2007, p.9-13: RAIN - Regional Agricultural Information Network
FADECO Community Radio FRC 100.8 FM now on air
Brochure for Postgraduate Programme in Agricultural Information and Communication Management(AICM)

Monday, 3 December 2007

Landless Chinese farmers migrate to Africa in search of agricultural opportunities

Jacques Cassiman, a famous European geneticist with a heart for Africa, was once asked what the future has in store for Europe's youth, who live in a continent whose population is ageing rapidly. His answer: in a 'reverse migration' of sorts, the creative and courageous ones will move to Africa, where they will find countless exciting opportunities no longer available in the old, grey continent. And when they migrate, they will be surprised to find many Chinese collegues in their newfound African homeland.

It seems like the Afro-optimist's vision is partly becoming a reality. China's presence in Africa is growing rapidly. As is well known, the People's Republic is involved in massive infrastructure projects, in the construction sector, in the oil and minerals industry. But what few people know is that more and more poor Chinese farmers are migrating to the continent too, in search for agricultural opportunities.

(...) A gross estimate says that more than 750,000 Chinese are now making a living in Africa (in all sectors, including agriculture).
(...) If the Chinese continue to help local ruralites acquire basic farming skills and cooperate with communities in marketing the products, this could prove to be a win-win situation for both. The process might be more effective than the countless asssistance programs offered by the West and international organisations, aimed at improving African agriculture. Read more
South China Morning Post: Landless farmers urged to migrate to Africa - September 19, 2007.
BBC: China in Africa: Developing ties - November 29, 2007.
People's Daily Online: Africa Feature: Story of nurse-turned Chinese farmer in Zambia - October 23, 2006.
Chris Alden, China in Africa, Zed Books, Series Title: African Arguments Series, 2007.
An excellent – if long – article about international development, foreign aid, construction contracts, and "China's African adventure" was published 19/11/2007 in the New York Times.

Minor Use Summit

Pesticide use on speciality crops is being discussed at FAO this week at a "Global Minor Use" summit. In a global first over 300 crop safety and pesticide management officials and other experts are meeting this week at FAO to discuss challenges associated with pesticide use on "speciality crops" like garlic, ginger and chilies. The event starts today and runs through December 7.

Unlike large-area crops such as corn, wheat, cotton or rice, specialty crops have traditionally been produced in relatively small amounts. As a result, studies on the proper use of pesticides in their cultivation have not been as systematic or widespread as they have been for major cash crops. This poses problems for producers, many of them in the developing world, who are struggling to export their goods to overseas markets with strong safety standards for imports.

Highlight: the Global Rust Initiative

The Global Rust Initiative (GRI) is a measured yet aggressive response to the emergence and spread of stem rust race Ug99 in East Africa. First formally noted in 1999, this race appeared to be a significant threat to global wheat production. Recurring epidemics in Kenya and then Ethiopia brought forth strong advocacy for world action from Nobel Laureate NE Borlaug.

CIMMYT heeded this call and together with Dr. Borlaug, declared in January of 2005 its intent to form a Global Rust Initiative to prevent a pandemic.With resources and advice from Dr. NE Borlaug and the Rockefeller Foundation, CIMMYT commissioned a blue ribbon panel of world experts to assess the nature of the threat and if warranted, prescribe remedies. It should be noted that the panel included scientists from both CIMMYT and ICARDA- not simply for institutional reasons, but because they are in the top tier of international rust scientists.

The wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis), also known as wheat black rust, is capable of causing severe losses and can destroy entire wheat fields. It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of all wheat varieties planted in Asia and Africa are susceptible to this new strain. The spores of wheat rust are mostly carried by wind over long distances and across continents.
Old canvas sheets, twine and branches
–makeshift shade for delicate seedlings at Njoro
The Njoro station is in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, not far from the city of Nakuru and very close to the Equator. The new stem rust spores have been present in the air at the station for at least three years, making it the perfect location for testing wheat to see if it can resist the fungus. “We improvise a lot here,” says Miriam Kinyua, the Director of the station and overall coordinator of Kenya wheat research, including GRI activities. “The world needs this work to be done.” She also expresses gratitude to the Canadian International Development Agency for providing funding that let the station put in a good irrigation system. “We can now grow wheat in the off season and ensure that if the rains fail, our testing won’t,” she says. She is also pleased that the research station is now connected to the rest of the world via a satellite dish and the internet, another result of the CIDA contribution. New contributions from USAID are adding to the support for GRI work in both Kenya and Ethiopia.

Called Ug99, the new stem rust is such a large threat to wheat around the world that scientists dare not transport the spores themselves to other test locations. Instead as part of the CIMMYT-ICARDA Global Rust Initiative, which also includes national partners like KARI and the Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research (EIAR), the world’s wheat comes to East Africa. Similar work is being conducted at several sites in Ethiopia by EIAR. “We are committed to work with international partners to fight the looming threat of stem rust,” says Dr. Bedada Girma, leader of EIAR's Stem Rust Task Force.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has worked with the National Wheat and Barley Improvement Committees to collect and send U.S. wheat and barley breeding lines to east Africa for screening against Ug99 in collaboration with CIMMYT and the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). Data from the Kenyan field-screening nursery will give U.S. wheat and barley breeders a headstart on developing new varieties with resistance to Ug99.

ARS plant pathologist Yue Jin evaluates wheat seedlings infected with stem rust.
Interest in the effort is growing, helped in part by the results to date shown by Yue Jin and colleagues at ARS, CIMMYT, ICARDA, KARI, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, the University of Minnesota, and many other institutions.

See also
Read more about this research in the November/December 2007 issue of the Agricultural Research magazine.

Chinese scientists responsible for developing innovative wheat varieties were recognized on 03/12/2007 with the International Award for "Outstanding Agricultural Technology". One of the varieties, known as Jimai 20, is the only Chinese wheat cultivar—and one of the few in the world—to show high resistance to a new and virulent strain of destructive wheat stem rust that originated in East Africa and has now spread to the Arabian peninsula. International wheat experts have been alarmed that most of the world’s wheat varieties appear susceptible to the disease, which can reduce harvests by as much 70 percent. See: China's new high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat boosting as world prices soar.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC)

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) opened on Monday 3 December 2007 in Bali.

More than 10,000 delegates from over 180 countries, including 130 environment ministers, attend the meeting from Dec. 3 to 14, which focuses on measures to be implemented on global greenhouse gas emissions reduction after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

The conference is tasked with drawing up a "roadmap" for negotiations on a new international agreement before the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Kivutha Kibwana (C), president of the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife of Kenya, during the opening ceremony of the 13th UNFCCC in Bali Island, Indonesia, Dec. 3, 2007. The UNFCCC lasts from Dec. 3 to 14.


  • Boko, M., I. Niang, A. Nyong, C. Vogel, A. Githeko, M. Medany, B.Osman-Elasha, R. Tabo and P. Yanda, 2007: Africa. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F.
  • Development Policy Forum Development Policy Forum Launch Debate "Should climate change alter development policy thinking?" Tuesday, December 04, 2007
  • New environmental research website at CORDIS, dedicated to promoting and highlighting EU-funded research related to the FP7 Cooperation theme "Environment (including climate change)".
  • Scientists unravel plants' natural defenses A team of researchers, led by the University of Sheffield and Queen Mary, University of London, has discovered how plants protect their leaves from damage by sunlight when they are faced with extreme climates. The new findings, which have been published in Nature, could have implications both for adapting plants to the threat of global warming and for helping man better harness solar energy.

Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) welcomes some of the world's leading agricultural research experts to its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Beijing International Convention Center (BICC), Beijing, China.

From December 3 to 7, 2007 over 1,000 AGM07 participants will explore how agricultural research and technology and food policy initiatives can more effectively continue to address critical global agricultural challenges and to bring the benefits of agricultural research to poor farmers in the developing world quicker.

African forum on agricultural research for development

This year’s annual meeting of the African Forum on the 2nd December 2007 at the CGIAR Annual meeting has focused on the achievements made so far by stakeholders at the different levels.

The purpose of the African Forum at CGIAR AGM 2007 was to increase the understanding and to get feedback from different stakeholders on how CAADP and FAAP are guiding initiatives towards common goals and objectives. The objective was to provide an open space where major actors in African AR&D can interact with CGIAR – AGM participants. There was a special interest in learning from potential Asian partners about how they could respond to the call of FAAP and CAADP for strengthened South-South exchanges. It was an important opportunity for the three development-oriented Pillars of CAADP to exchange views with the agricultural research (Pillar IV) community on the new knowledge and technologies that they need for achieving greater impact.

The topics have been formulated as questions that guided speakers to contribute towards a common outcome, i.e., of learning how each and everyone’s actions contribute to CAADP objectives following the FAAP principles.

  • What are we trying to achieve in Africa?

  • How is the CGIAR responding to CAADP and FAAP?

  • How are we tapping the diverse resources available to Africa?

  • How are the RECs involved?

  • Why do we need the sub-regional organizations?

  • How are the national systems affected by the SROs and FARA?

  • Why should the civil society organizations be concerned with CAADP?

  • Is there a role for development partners besides providing the funds?

  • Why should international research organizations or institutes and regional fora be engaged with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa?

  • How do we integrate and derive lessons learnt from these diverse initiatives?