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CTA looks back on 30 years of knowledge sharing

December 17, 2014

When a decision was first taken to set up the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) just over 30 years ago, knowledge was identified as a core theme for the fledgling organisation. Specifically, the Centre’s mandate was ‘to be at the disposal of the ACP states to provide them with better access to information, research and training and innovations in the agricultural and rural field.’

Plug  Play DayMany things have changed since then, and CTA’s scope and impact have expanded beyond all recognition. But creating, sharing and disseminating knowledge has remained central to CTA’s work, providing the common thread to everything it does.

As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, CTA launched a Knowledge is campaign to highlight the importance of knowledge sharing in agriculture and the impact that it can have. Throughout 2014, the website has been featuring 30 years of stories which illustrate how it has delivered on its mission.

The accounts offer a historical kaleidoscope of shifting agricultural challenges over the past three decades, tracing some of the many solutions CTA has developed to respond to them. One of the earliest initiatives was the highly successful CD ROM programme, which served as an introduction to digital information technology for many ACP libraries and centres.

Fast forwarding to 2008, CTA’s Web 2.0 and Social Media Learning Opportunities  was created to train ACP users in advanced web tools, such as blogs, tweeting and making free phone calls over the Internet, as well as other collaborative and social media channels.

sporeIn recent years, CTA has broadened its focus to address the needs of ACP countries in the areas of agricultural policies, value chain development and ICTs for agriculture. Other programmes which have benefited huge numbers of people in ACP countries include CTA’s flagship Spore magazine, a wide range of technical publications, its Brussels Development Briefings, the International Conference series, participatory mapping and the building of knowledge management platforms for various organisations.

Despite its extensive outreach, CTA is a small organisation, and none of its impacts could have been achieved without the support of its many partners. Which is why the Centre has been sending a special message as it celebrates this very special year.

 “We decided to dedicate our 30th Anniversary to honour our partners across Africa, Caribbean and Pacific,” said CTA Director Michael Hailu. “Without their hard work, we would never have had the results and impact we have seen.”

As part of a special video compilation to mark CTA's 30th Anniversary, we have created an animation that gives an overview of CTA's contribution to agriculture and rural development over the past three decades.