FRIENDS seeks to test prototype electronic information networks for better organisation of locally-based rural agricultural associations and cooperatives in Europe, and improved communication between them. Such networks are seen as the key to linking isolated bodies to information sources, as well as to a geographically extended base for provision of expertise and training. The project will address the technology to be adopted, the suitability of information sources vis-à-vis user needs, and the support of both by the organisational structures. Economy as well as user acceptance and speed of take-up will be among the aspects monitored.
Electronic information networks will have important ramifications on how rural agricultural community associations and co-operatives communicate with each other and, on a more fundamental level , how they are organised.
These networks are the basis for linking isolated organisations to various information sources, and perhaps more importantly to a geographically extended expertise and training base. Furthermore, the same network will also serve to link these isolated organisations to each other.
In designing solutions for this environment three fundamental issues need to be addressed in parallel: the actual technology to be utilised, the agricultural information source as related to users needs, and the support of the technology and the information sources by the organisational fabric.
We propose to use a combination of fast-prototyping and scenario building which will be used to envisage and explore with the end-users the different possibilities and shortcomings of the proposed technology.
The pilot system will be composed of 6 main "rural end-user" sites , and several other "expert/information" sites. The trial will be monitored to evaluate the user acceptance and the speed at which the users learn about the system, to gather user feedback on possible additional features, to quantify the economic benefits of the different services and to assess the organisational impact of the new services.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
70010 Valenzano Bari