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Washington D. C., May 2006

CECAM: Centro de conocimiento agroalimentario mesoamericano (Food and Agricultural Knowledge Center for Central America). By: Arauz, Luis Felipe; Agüero, Renán Agricultural Research Institute (IIA) University of Costa Rica. Washington D. C., May 2006. CECAM:.

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Washington D. C., May 2006

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  1. CECAM: Centro de conocimiento agroalimentario mesoamericano(Food and Agricultural KnowledgeCenter for Central America) By: Arauz, Luis Felipe; Agüero, Renán Agricultural Research Institute (IIA) University of Costa Rica Washington D. C., May 2006

  2. CECAM: • Knowledge is now a continuous flow of information • Current information and communication technologies (from here on refered to as ICT´s), allow a much better access to knowledge, taking into account individual or group needs • Central America, as a region, is somewhat lagging behind in ICT´s. Regarding the agricultural sector, each country must develope its own node, to eventually become a part of CECAM. In order to achieve this, a well funded regional project is needed. We can argue as much as we want, but I myself see this as the birth of the Central American Chapter of ADEC

  3. ¿How do we go about modernizing agriculture in this enfolding knowledge wave? • In the past decades, political support to regional agriculture has focused on operating credit and infrastructure • However, educating our citizens is our main resource towards being competitive in a global economy. It is urgent that we capitalize this resource

  4. Current status of internet development in the region • Southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama already have access to broad band internet • Belize and Honduras are soon to follow

  5. training Acquisition and transmision of data documentation platform Local node extension GIS Information management system Central American Ag Faculties profitability data analysis productivity CECAM public sostenibility decision making private steady food supply academic

  6. Perhaps, previous platform is one of the key elements needed, in order to overcome fear to CAFTA Without proper access to knowledge, I would not want to compete in a global economy!!!

  7. training Distance Face to face Movile units documentation Local node On line documents Acces to data: -Soils -Climate -Crop protection -Economics -etc. Information analysis extension Answers to user questions: -expert systems -dedicated search engines Central America Ag Faculties CECAM

  8. ¿Why CECAM? • ITC´s allow to easily reach far more users than ever • The digital divide between rural and urban areas in Mesoamerica is similar to the digital divide between Europe and Africa • Something similar can be said when we compare small and big owners and/or users of farm land

  9. ¿Why CECAM? (continues…) • Small farmers have a rather limited access to training, consultancy, English proficiency and modern information systems • CECAM • Local information in Spanish • Access to internet platforms of public domain • Training in the use of ITC´s

  10. Some of the support technologies involved • Internet • Data bases, Expert systems, models • Global positioning systems and Geographic Information Systems • Remote and on site sensors • Image analysis • Videoconferences

  11. Geographic Scale Region Country Province County Farm Field Plant Planning Management

  12. Real time information

  13. Precision Agriculture • Reduce pesticide and fertilizer use • Lower work risks for field workers • Better farm planning

  14. ¿Why lead by Universities? • As an example, all national surveys conducted over the years in Costa Rica, placed public universities at the top in public credibility • Public universites are subject to strict gobermental controls • Staff stability • Constitutional mandate to contribute to national development • Just take the US public universities and their historical impact on agricultural development, as an excellent example

  15. ¿Why lead by universities? • Critical mass of scientists of different disciplines, due to multiple Faculties housed within the same institution (ejm. Agronomy, Geography, Biology, Disciplinary Research Centers, etc) • High productivity of knowledge that often leads to improved processes

  16. Example for Costa Rica: Number of papers related to different topics of crop production presented during the las National Agronomic Congres, 1999

  17. Multiple links are anticipated Farmers organizations (NGO´s) Agricultural Ministries Local networks CECAM ADEC Profesional boards Meteorology Estations International institutions (ejm IICA, CATIE) Private Universities (ejm Earth, Zamorano) Education Ministries

  18. On line specialized literature CECAM / ADEC Research Users: -Asynchronous (many options) -Synchronous (Centra???) Agricultural Sector

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