Third Lango Forum on e – Agriculture: Improving information access for agricultural and rural development

Women of Uganda Network with support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP – EU (CTA), holds a bi-annual event called the Lango Forum on e-agriculture. This event is held two times in a year in Apac District, Northern Uganda. This year the third Lango forum on e – agriculture will be held on the 18th February 2010 .

The Purpose
The purpose of the forum is to sensitize rural women and the community at large on the role of ICTs in rural and agricultural development. Forum participants share knowledge and experiences on how ICTs have been or could be applied in agriculture and rural development within the region, highlighting both the benefits and the challenges. Participants include farmers, district leaders, Civil Society organisations from Apac, Gulu, Lira, and Oyam districts, and stakeholders from other areas of Uganda.

Why Apac District?
WOUGNET has initiated various ICT initiatives including Research work in Apac District since 2003.The most significant initiative was started in 2005, in that, this particular project works directly with Rural women farmers. The Project which is in its fifth year and supported by CTA is called “Enhancing Access to Agricultural Information using ICTs to Rural women farmers”. The project also established a rural information centre called “ Kubere Information Centre, located in Apac town. Other significant ICT processes in Northern Uganda that WOUGNET has been involved in, include the “Agricultural Research Extension Network- ARENET project that was implemented by FAO and Kawanda Agricultural Research Information Services, the Rural Women’s Voices project the Esociety Programme and the Knowledge Network of African Community Telecentres – KNACT among others.

About WOUGNET
Women of Uganda Network is a non-governmental organization established in 2000 by several women organizations in Uganda to develop the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) among women as tools to share information and address challenges collectively. Supported by CTA, HIVOS, and Dimitra ,WOUGNET’s mission is to promote and support the use of information and communication technologies by women organisations as well as individuals. This is done with the aim of improving the conditions of life for Ugandan women, through enhancing their capacities and opportunities for exchange, collaboration and information sharing using ICTs. WOUGNET’s information channels include its websites; www.wougnet.org, http:kic.wougnet.org, www.wib.or.ug,; Mailing lists, Print Publications and Kubere Information Centre (KIC) located in Apac district, Northern Uganda.

CTA celebrates 25th Anniversary .

A silver anniversary marks a milestone for any organization. It seemed appropriate then, that the 25th anniversary of CTA’s existence was celebrated in style in Brussels, Belgium during the CTA seminar whose theme was “The role of Media in the agriculture and rural Development of ACP countries.” A total of 150 participants from Africa, the pacific and Caribbean attended the annual seminar which took place in Brussels. Representatives from the ACP and EU embassies based in Brusssels were invited to the ceremony which was held at the historical palais des colonies in Truven Brussels. The CTA annual seminar 2009 was characterized with a number of Panel discussions which were usually followed by instructive discussions on the role of Journalists in Agricultural development. Scientists, researchers and heads of media houses from Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean had a feeling that Journalists always majored on reporting politics, scandals and sports rather than Agriculture. They added that the journalists mainly did it to satisfy politicians. The response from Journalists was quick, they said that the logic applied to current events and the information collection and processing techniques are universal, in other words, they are not specific to any given sector. The media which is one of the strategic links in the information dissemination and transmission chain between the various stakeholders in agriculture and rural development in African, Caribbean and pacific countries is key in information dissemination on agricultural issues. At the 2009 CTA seminar a number of topics were tackled on how the media can be brought on board to report on Agricultural issues. These topics included: 1. Mainstreaming Media in development: The way to go. 2. How can media better serve rural communities? 3. Media and ARID issues 4. Media and climate change 5. Media and Gender equality 6. Contribution of media to Agricultural policy programming and knowledge management. 7. Building the capacity of media in Agriculture and rural development 8. Media, emerging and new media service and ICTs. Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), one of the participating organizations from Uganda had the privilege to make a present on the role of web 2.0 tools for sustainable agriculture in Uganda. This panel presentation which was derived from a broad topic of “Media, emerging and new services and ICTs” was very important during this seminar. It was noted that web 2.0 tools/technologies were a new form of media not only in Africa but also in the pacific and Caribbean. The web 2.0 tools that were mainly discussed included twitter, YouTube, Face book, RSS, blogs, wikis, word press and Google alerts. The presentation focused on how these various web 2.0 tools can be used by farmers for sustainable agriculture and what potential they had in terms of increasing production, diversifying productivity and reducing risks. However, participants from various organizations were cautioned to only use web 2.0 tools that the promote cause of the organization’s goal if the benefits are to trickle down to the users. This is because web 2.0 tools are too many and more are emerging. With this year’s theme “The role of media in agricultural and rural development of ACP countries” it was clearly noted that sustainable agriculture is the only basis on which humanity can be sustained meaning that if agriculture is unsustainable, then the human species in unsustainable too and involving the media in information collection, sharing, packaging, and dissemination was very important in achieving sustainability of Agriculture in ACP countries. The seminar took place at a time when the rest of the world was participating and celebrating in two key agricultural related events of Blog action day with the theme “Climate change” on 15/10/2009 and world food day with the theme “Achieving food security in times of crisis” 16/10/2009. For more details about the CTA seminar please visit their website: http://www.cta.int Follow CTA on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Media4Dev Written By Maureen Agena.

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Sustainable Agriculture: What is the role of ICTs?

The annual CTA seminar 2009 is taking place in Brussels with the theme of “Sustainable Agriculture,what is the role of the Media’ This is so interesting because media plays a big role in influencing decisions and government level.
We must know that information is a very importatnt if sustainable agricultre is to be achieved in African, Pacific and Caribean countries.
Agriculture is the only basis on which humanity can be sustained meaning that if Agriculture is unsustainable then the human species is unsustainable too.

We need to incooperate ICTs,New media such as web2.0 in all our agricultural activities if the benefits are to tricke down to the farmers.

Maureen Agena