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The new interactive TECA – technologies and practices for small agricultural producers – is an online platform developed by FAO’s Research and Extension Branch to facilitate access to information that can benefit small producers around the world. This information can be accessed both through:
- a database of applied technologies and practices on various rural activities and supplied by partner organizations and initiatives
- online forums – or Exchange Groups – where members can enquire a community of practitioners about a specific agricultural technology or practice, and at the same time share their own experiences with other members looking for support.
The TECA platform aims to:
- gather and facilitate access to practical information (technologies and practices) that can help small producers in the field
- enhance the participation of rural stakeholders in the development and improvement of technologies and practices for small producers
- contribute to food security and to the sustainability of farming systems managed by small producers
TECA targets practitioners from:
- producers’ associations
- advisory services (extension agencies)
- national research and development organizations
- the private sector
- any group or initiative working for and with small producers
TECA was originally launched in 2002 to help FAO technical units and its partners to better preserve the knowledge produced out of successful experiences in the field. After an external evaluation by a team of experts of the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (DFID) and recommendations received, TECA was re-designed with the open source content management system Drupal. Thereafter it evolved from a simple database system into an interactive platform, incorporating Web 2.0 tools which allow different stakeholders to build knowledge in collaboration with each other.
This new feature of TECA was tested in 2010 with rural users in a pilot experience in Uganda. A group of interested individuals, including professionals from advisory services and development organizations, researchers, students and other practitioners, came together to form TECA’s Uganda Exchange Group and discuss agricultural topics relevant for the country.
At the end of 2010, both the Uganda Group and the Beekeeping Group provided important feedback about TECA’s tools, content and navigation, and their recommendations were carefully considered for further improving the platform. As a result, TECA now presents a new design, new tools and a revised database of agricultural technologies and practices, addressing the demands of TECA target groups for more practical information and for an easier way to find it.