I am pleased to announce the publication of Feria del Conocimiento América Latina y el Caribe: Casos destacados en agricultura, desarrollo y seguridad alimentaria (only available in Spanish), which gathers the main highlights and conclusions of the first Latin American and Caribbean Knowledge ShareFair hosted by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, from 25-27 May 2010.
The objectives of the ShareFair were to demonstrate how the active and strategic participation of knowledge improves the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of any work. Participants, some 200 professionals from over 70 organizations and 18 countries, were also given an opportunity to experiment with knowledge sharing tools and methodologies, while sharing and learning good practices.
The event, which was organized by the Information and Communications Technology and Knowledge Management (ICT-KM) Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Knowledge Management for Development (KM4Dev) community, served to gather experiences related to rural development (mainly agriculture and livestock production) and exemplify what is happening in terms of knowledge management in Latin America.
Of the numerous case studies presented at the ShareFair, eight relating to agriculture, development, and food security (key issues addressed during the event) were selected for inclusion in the publication and serve to illustrate how knowledge-related processes involve complementary technological, technical, and human factors.
Five case studies (Condesan, Prodarnet, Preval, INIA, CIAT) illustrate purely regional experiences, while three (CIARD, Vercon, and SGRP) provide an interesting global perspective.
Although the publication is in Spanish, the following are translations of the case study section titles:
- Condesan: E-forums of the Consortium for the Sustainable Development of the Andean Ecoregion: 17 years of learning between people and tools (by Musuq Briceño and Alejandra Visscher)
- Prodarnet: Virtual networks for promoting rural agribusinesses in Latin America (by Hernando Riveros and Marvin Blanco)
- Preval: Image assessment: A communications proposal for social learning (by Emma Rotondo)
- INIA: Participatory research as a knowledge management process (by María Marta Albicette)
- CIAT: Innovation facilitators in rural agribusinesses: Market knowledge as a compass for innovation (by Érika Eliana Mosquera and Jhon Jairo Hurtado)
- CIARD: From words to action: Information on agricultural research available to the public, fully accessible and applicable (by Nadia Manning-Thomas and Enrica Porcari)
- Vercon: Knowledge sharing among agricultural research and extension systems (by Sophie Treinen)
- SGRP: Motivating scientists to share knowledge in the Global Public Goods (GPG2) project (by Maria Alejandra Jorge)
- Conclusion (by Sebastião Ferreira, Simone Staiger and Camilo Villa)
In concluding, the authors outlined the need for knowledge sharing to be explicitly used to promote learning between actors. “Knowledge currently plays a key role in many development policies, accompanied by an important effort of the informatics sector and ICTs in general. Nonetheless, the learning and social engineering that accompany knowledge should become the main forces promoting knowledge and innovation, not the contrary, which is what happens nowadays.”
The Fair’s organizers gratefully acknowledge IICA’s collaboration in the design and layout of the publication.