The fast and effective transfer of technologies from the research laboratory to the farmer’s field has always been one of the biggest challenges facing those in agricultural development. All too often, new technologies are successfully developed only to fail in reaching those who need them most—the farmers—because of inadequate or underdeveloped government extension services. This unfortunate situation is made worse when the new technologies are neglected and forgotten because they are not used. NGOs have started to play an important role in the area of extension, but most do not have the resources to develop their own technologies and must rely on access to institutes like IRRI to provide what they need.
Into this yawning gap between research and impact has stepped the IRRI Rice Knowledge Bank (RKB). Not only is it one of the world’s first digital extension services for those who provide information and support for farmers (such as NGOs), it is also the first comprehensive, digital rice-production library containing an ever-increasing wealth of information on training and rice production.
More importantly, it provides this service using a breakthrough format that sets a new standard for knowledge and information access within the agricultural development community. Taking the very latest and best ideas from the private sector’s work in this area, the RKB is providing government extension officers, NGOs, and all others interested with unprecedented access to rice knowledge and training information.