Paris, 15 January 2007

EFITA newsletter / 292 / European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

Next EFITA congress in 2007 in Glasgow
2 - 5 July 2007 - Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK
Contact: Caroline PARKER
E-mail: c.g.parker(a)

EFITA junior researchers’ prize

An address dedicated to jokes, many of them coming from I. Kitron and M. Harkin

Norwegian ICT companies supporting the agricultural sector

EFITA 2007 / I sent a second summary (provisional version)! (GW) AND YOU?

RES-AGRI: for a networking agriculture… the farm at the centre of agricultural information exchanges

To meet the requirements of their business and administrative partners, farmers are spending more and more time collecting and transmitting all kinds of information within their business activities (invoices, payments, social charges, traceability, environmental constraints, etc.). At the end of the day, there is a time conflict between information management and agricultural production tasks.

At the same time, all actors, being commercial, financial, administrative, or providing farmers with advice are developing various information systems to manage and control the growing information flows related to agricultural production. For example, in France, bovine traceability makes it necessary to exchange 45 million messages per year between cattle breeders and the regional and central data bases maintained by the French Administration. The milk producers, analysis laboratories and co-operatives are exchanging 14 million messages per year. The arable, fruit and vegetable producers are exchanging 15 million data sheets per year with their advisory services, accounting centres and co-operatives.

The development of these complex IT systems supported by electronic data interchanges (EDI) is paving the way for e-Administration (e-Government) and e-Business and is offering the opportunity to achieve a networked agriculture.

However, the incompatibility of the different IT tools developed by agricultural IT companies and by agrifood chain actors, the complexity of information exchange procedures, the lack of training of farmers and the cost of EDI implementation are still limiting the adoption of ICT by farmers. These are the reasons why it is intended to build the technical specifications and an associated business plan for an information exchange platform that would make interoperability of all existing agricultural IT tools possible for a targeted cost of 5 € per farm per month.

In this context, the objective of the RES-AGRI project is to propose a simple, cheap and operational solution to enable farmers to exchange information with all their partners. The targeted solution would guarantee increased productivity, greater exchange capacity and more responsiveness amongst the main actors.

To achieve successful development and deployment and to offer various value-added services, the RES-AGRI project will:
- support the use of internationally agreed standards (EDIFACT or ebXML messages recognised by the United Nations) to improve electronic information exchanges between agrifood chain actors.
- benefit from standardisation works already performed over recent years in France within the GIEA and Agro EDI projects and from associated research programmes carried out by CEMAGREF.
- collect and model information exchanges in different production sectors and functionalities: e.g. cattle breeding, arable crops, farm implements, traceability, accounting information, etc.
- develop and test (see pilots) an exchange platform using new ebXML technology.
- set up training sessions (see e-Learning) to ensure adequate technology transfer and real adoption.

The real challenge of the RES-AGRI project is to gather all actors involved in agriculture, i.e. providers, clients, service organisations, administrations, etc., to set up with them and for them, a low cost functional and technical solution that will meet their requirements and enable them to develop new services.

Bruno PREPIN, Agro EDI Europe, bprepin(a)
Gaëlle CHERUY, Agro EDI Europe, gcheruy(a)
Guy WAKSMAN, ACTA Informatique, waksman(a)

Agricultural Information and Knowledge Management Papers - new documents added to the series
Effective information integration, retrieval, and exchange require agreed standards. Since the late nineties, the General Information and  has been setting standards in information management in agricultural development and food security. It has been working with various departments within FAO, its member countries and other partners to develop and disseminate global
standards and procedures for agricultural information management and exchange. Through its presence at various workshops and training courses, it has been promoting the adoption of standards for agricultural data exchange and retrieval through the adoption of XML and other new techniques. This is highlighted through the two internationally-recognized, namely the agricultural metadata standards initiative (AgMES) and the Agricultural Ontology Service (AOS).

FAOs WAICENT/Knowledge Exchange Facilitation Branch (KCEW) recently made available its publications under the series entitled "Agricultural Information and Knowledge Management Papers". The papers include implementation guides, usage documents, and concept papers bring greater coherence to the work on providing standards, norms and procedures for improving access to agricultural information.  A number of the papers made available were also presented at various international conferences or published in renowned journals; highlighting the role FAO plays in the wider information management community.

Access all the papers in this series from:

Visit the World Agricultural Information Centre Portal:
Visit the AgMES and AOS initiatives:
For more information on the Corporate Document Repository: http://www.fao.orag/documents/
Contact : Gauri SALOKHE
E-mail: gauri.salokhe(a)

A guy arrives late to work one day and is called into the office. His angry boss asks "What took you so long to get here today?" the man replies "Well Sir, my brakes aren't working!" Confused, the boss says "Late? You should have been early!"

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