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October 2004

ICT needs for improved agriculture in Romania

Published by the FAO Regional Office for Europe

Romaniaís National Agricultural Research System (NARS) has been restructured since the fall of the communist regime in 1989, and the Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Science (AAFS) is now coordinating all agricultural research. The Universities are focusing on education with little to no involvement in research or extension, though ongoing efforts are underway to create private consulting services. The national extension service has been reorganized recently under the National Consulting Agency, ANCA, created in 1998.

AAFS is well organized and has a clear strategy for promoting relevant, farmer led research. However, there is a shortage of laboratory and field equipment. Almost all Academy (AAFS) institutes are working with outdated equipment, most of it 12-15 years old. In addition, limited computer availability at the Academy (AAFS) and its member institutions means that not all researchers have access to the Internet, and where terminals exist, they must often be shared by two or three people. Addressing this situation is a major priority for all institutes and experimental stations. Training and maintenance of equipment costs are high but computerisation is seen as a cost-effective strategy when the benefits are accounted for. Computer skills are relatively high amongst young graduates but there is a need for IT training of junior management and administrative staff.

Furthermore, the University of Agricultural Sciences is committed to developing information systems for the education system, e.g. long-distance education. It is also piloting the set up of private technical consulting services. ARAD promotes its activities through a website but there is no electronic network for communication between staff except through the University system.

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