A new online research information system is currently being built by SPC EU APP to better capture and disseminate agriculture research reports in the region.

A new online research information system is currently being built by SPC EU APP to better capture and disseminate agriculture research reports in the region. The Pacific Agriculture Research Information Bank consolidates research reports from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu and already has over 37,000 digital records uploaded onto the system.

Malcolm Hazelman, the chair of the Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services network (PIRAS) noted the importance of such e-libraries.

“For too long, it has been difficult to access research reports by the multitude of partners in the region. Without some central reference, it’s conceivable that we are recycling research in some areas.”

Vili Caniogo, APP Adviser, stated that database was an ambitious but worthwhile exercise. “The database will go some way in reducing duplication and providing evidence for research and extension interventions”. He stated that the system emphasised voluntary sharing and would respect the rights of authors or countries, fully knowing that some reports were subject to intellectual property constraints.

The establishment of such a database addresses a key priority identified by a Forum of over 150 Researchers and Extension Officers held in Samoa in 2015. The database is expected to become an important resource for extension officers to assist smallholder farmers improve their productivity.

The database is already receiving additional external support from IFAD through the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) and the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

A key outcome from the Forum was agreement to establish the Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services network (PIRAS) as a platform to facilitate information sharing and networking, and to collaboratively build the capacity of research and extension services in the Pacific.

The research database will be officially launched at the next PIRAS Forum, to be held in Fiji in August 2017. Stay tuned for further updates on PIRAS activities in the next Policy Digest.

* For more information on PIRAS visit http://pafpnet.spc.int/research-and-extension/pacific-island-rural-advisory-services-piras

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