The food and agriculture organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has launched an initiative to help students, researchers and scientists from developing countries gain free and low cost access to scientific literature. The initiative, known as AGORA (access to global online research in agriculture), will provide access, via an online web portal, to more than 400 scientific journals in food, nutrition, agriculture, as well as biological, environmental and social sciences. The decision to develop such a tool was taken in response to a demand for scientific literature in developing countries, which the FAO says has gone unfulfilled for many years. 'Gaining access to current scientific information has become a daily struggle for thousands of students, researchers and academics,' claims the FAO, adding that as long as access to scientific journals remains limited, students will be unable to gain the knowledge they need, while researchers and scientists will continue to run into difficulties getting their work funded or published. Commenting on the AGORA initiative, Director of FAO's library and documentation systems division, Anton Mangstl, said: 'FAO is committed to strengthening capacity for knowledge generation and dissemination as a contribution to achievement of the goals of the international alliance against hunger, and as a follow-up to the World Food Summit.' AGORA brings together a host of bilateral agencies, UN agencies, private foundations and international scientific publishers interested in helping improve health, nutrition and education of the world's poor. 'AGORA demonstrates that the public and private sectors can work together to build greater momentum towards building a world without hunger,' added Mr Mangstl.