n Innovation : journal of appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa - A regional assessment of the status of agricultural information and communication management by organisations in southern Africa




Information is a necessary resource for agricultural-related activities, but planned, systematic management of the generation, acquisition, organisation, storage and sharing of information is necessary to realise the full value of the information resources of organisations. The status of information and communication management (ICM) by 123 agricultural, forestry and fishery institutes in 10 southern African countries was assessed by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in 2006-2009. Organisations had diverse ICM activities and sundry information, ICT and human capacity-building needs. Common key problems identified included unmet information needs, particularly local data; non-availability of extension material in local languages; lack of ICM skills; lack of awareness of the value of information and its management; lack of staff; lack of planning and strategies for ICM; and limited awareness of CTA products and services. Strategic options to address these ICM shortfalls, in particular the absence of information strategies and managers, were proposed. The need to develop organisational ICM strategies emerged as the top priority across all 10 southern African countries and was deemed essential to help organisations fully exploit their information assets and monitor and assess the impact of their work.


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