ROME, 21 May 2002 -- The Future Harvest Centres, a network of global food and environmental research organizations, launched a new online search tool in Rome on Tuesday aimed at revolutionizing the way external users access its wealth of specialized agricultural and development information.
The Info Finder will allow users to intelligently search the rich reserves of online material produced by Future Harvest Centres around the globe and system of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), as well as that of the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) operated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by linking information to a single network.

"Availability of agricultural information is growing massively on the Internet," says Francisco Reifschneider, the director of the CGIAR, which funds and supports the Future Harvest Centres. "Users will quickly see the benefit of the Info Finder because it helps rapid access to the wealth of the agricultural knowledge generated by the Future Harvest Centres."

Available at http://infofinder.cgiar.org, the Info Finder is a collaborative effort between FAO's WAICENT, the Future Harvest Centers and CGIAR. It is partly based on FAO's own in-house technologies, which search for online information catalogued using common standards such as keywords from the widely used Agrovoc agricultural thesaurus.

"Embracing partners to extend the scope, impact and sustainability of agricultural information management systems is one of FAO's chief mandates," says WAICENT Manager Francisco Perez-Trejo. "The Info Finder project has built a strong relationship between the two organizations and we hope that this sense of partnership will be replicated with other institutions in the future."

Created in 1971, the CGIAR is a leading development partnership supporting a knowledge network of 16 Future Harvest Centres that mobilize science and generate new agricultural technologies specifically adapted to the crop, ecology, and development needs of poor farmers and helps strengthen national agricultural institutions in developing countries.