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Farmers, public librarians, agricultural service providers and civil society organizations will work together to improve flows of practical and up-do-date information to farmers living in the Berd region of Armenia, so that farmers can increase their yields and income.
Berd Public Library will equip a computer laboratory for farmers in the library, and also take laptop computers to farming communities to conduct Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training in their home villages. The library will create a website where farmers will be able to find agricultural information, share experiences and market their produce. Agricultural service providers will provide content on modern farming methods for the new service and for the website.
The new service in Berd is one of 14 winners of an EIFL-Public Library Innovation Programme (PLIP) replication grant. The grants enable public libraries in developing and transition countries to replicate successful public library services created during the first phase of EIFL-PLIP. Berd Public Library is replicating Panguipulli Public Library’s ‘Communicating Farmers’ service, which builds ICT skills of farmers living in remote communities in the Andes mountains of southern Chile.
Farmers are central to the new service, which is titled Harnessing ICT for Improved Farming Practices. The library will build a team of ‘ICT leaders’ – farmers who will share information about the service with other farmers, and conduct training.
In order to deliver the new service effectively, and for long-term sustainability, Berd Public Library will have to improve librarians’ ICT skills: ‘Farming is the main source of income and livelihoods for about 40% of the population in the region,’ said Ms Alvard Adamyan, head of Berd Public Library.
‘That’s why it is so important for the library to improve capacity to use up-to-date ICTs, to be able to better help farmers with the kinds of practical information and knowledge that is essential to farmers’ livelihoods,’ she said.