The Asia-Pacific Agricultural Research Information System (APARIS), in collaboration with GFAR and ACIAR, organized a two-day technical workshop on Development and De-Centralized Management of ARD Information Resources. Among the 20 participants of the workshop, 10 were National Information Nodal Points (NINPs) from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand who participated in the workshop to strengthen APARIS and its linkages with the National Agricultural Information Systems (NAIS) of the Asia-Pacific using the de-centralization approach of the Global ARD Web Ring. The workshop was facilitated by resource persons from GFAR, FAO and AIT, and APARIS Coordinator.

GFAR and FAO emphasized the critical role of NAIS in this Web Ring as most of the agricultural knowledge is created at a research institute level. ACIAR advocated that greater adoption of agricultural R&D by farmers is possible if improved communication at various levels leads to cooperation among the development stakeholders. GFAR observed that there is growing evidence that information science is influencing farmers more than the agricultural science in some cases.
After country briefs by NINPs, the workshop deliberated on various priority issues at NAIS level, including Standardization, Coordination and Sustainability. Through a group exercise, the participants came up with several recommendations for further development of the Global ARD Web Ring in which APARIS and its NAIS can participate using newly available tools / applications / frameworks such as RSS feeds, AgriFeeds, and CIARD. APARIS, through its own applications, demonstrated how these can be incorporated amd implemented in NAIS.

The workshop was followed by the meeting of the APARIS Steering Committee, composed of three NARS leaders (one each from Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific) and representatives from ACIAR (the current chair), GFAR (Ajit Maru, co-chair of the APARIS SC), FAO, and AIT. The Steering Committee commended the progress made so far by APARIS, finalized the work plan for 2008, and suggested future strategies to further improve the impact of APARIS at NARS/NAIS level. The advocacy and capacity building roles of APARIS were identified as critical.

The proceedings of both activities will soon become available at