The Southern African Agricultural Information and Knowledge System is an initiative by the Center for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) to facilitate regional agricultural information and knowledge sharing in southern Africa. The initiative was supported by CTA and GIZ together with SADC member states which appointed focal people to support the development of the initial proof of concept.
The Center for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) is a sub-regional organization which was launched in July 2011 by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states to coordinate agricultural research and development in the Southern African sub-region. CCARDESA’s goal is to sustainably reduce the food insecurity and poverty in the region as pronounced in SADC’s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). One of the key thematic areas of operation for CCARDESA is that of Information Knowledge and Communication. Under this thematic area, CCARDESA undertakes programmes and projects that promote information generation, management and dissemination as well as utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in communicating information and knowledge.
After the realization that agricultural information sharing was lacking within the Southern African Region, CCARDESA initiated the Southern African Agricultural Information and Knowledge System (SAAIKS). Information sharing is critical towards the driving the development of the agricultural sector.
CCARDESA has initiated the development of SAAIKS, an Information Communication and Knowledge Management (ICKM) system in line with SADC sub regional expectations as well as continental and global trends of agricultural information and knowledge management and sharing. This system for sharing agricultural information across the region was embarked upon with support from CTA to incapacitate CCARDESA to be a hub for agricultural research, extension, and news information in various digital formats for the region.
As a proof of concept, CTA supported the building of a system and content for two disciplines. These are, underutilized crops and Climate Smart Agriculture and climate change adaptation. The selection of topics are very important for empowering stakeholders especially the vulnerable groups which predominantly include women and youth to building their resilience and adaptation to climate change which is negatively affecting the SADC region.
This initiative aligns with a GIZ funded programme on adaptation to climate change in rural areas in SADC (ACCRA) hosted by CCARDESA whose key focus is on information dissemination. On the other hand, CCARDESA has been compiling information on under-utilized crops which are useful as a source of food and vital nutrients to many resource-poor households across the region. Availing this information through this platform would be useful to stakeholders.
SAAIKS objectives are:
- Agricultural information and knowledge sharing among member states and beyond
- Development of agricultural database and resource information
- Sharing best practices for development and or adoption within the region