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[ABIDJAN] More than a dozen agricultural research institutes in Côte d'Ivoire have agreed to open up access to their research results and raise farmers' awareness of their work through a shared online platform.

The aim is to increase the uptake of new and existing technologies and research findings, and eventually to boost agricultural production in the country and West African region.

The creation of the platform was agreed in May, and a planning workshop was held in Grand Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire, last month (19-20 July). It was attended by researchers and other stakeholders, including ministry officials and science communicators, who exchanged experiences on the best ways to disseminate research results.

According to Pierre Ackah Angniman, executive director of the Interprofessional Fund for Agricultural Research and Counseling (FIRCA) — the organisation that will fund and run the research platform — scientists have decided to set up a national database of research results and technologies to improve research openness and popularisation.

They have also agreed to coordinate the outreach activities of different agricultural organisations.

Angniman told SciDev.Net that a committee will shortly be created to manage the platform and to work on raising awareness of existing agricultural technologies.

"It's a matter of enlisting the help of professional agricultural organisations, which can help us convey messages efficiently to farmers, so that they can implement [research findings] that may boost their productivity and also allow them to increase their incomes," said Germain N'dri, a researcher at the University of Abobo-Adjamé in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

N'dri said that each participating research institute will be provided with a communication officer to support the project.

He also explained that the platform will be integrated with existing initiatives managed by the Economic Community of West African States and implemented by the World Bank's West African Agricultural Productivity Program, which is working to disseminate research findings in the region.

Justin Koudougnon, an agricultural research engineer based in Côte d'Ivoire, said the establishment of a common system of information and communication on agricultural technologies is a strong initiative, and should lead to the better communication of research results to farmers.

"In Africa, the agricultural sector's low productivity is mainly due to the weak adoption of available technology, and the inefficiency or lack of mastery of technological resources," Koudougnon commented.