Inventoryof AKIS in Europe Different countries haveadopted the AKIS system and have adapted it according to the contribution ofthe private and public organizations, national institutions and laws andpolicies of the agricultural sector within the country. European AKIS are considered to be complicatedor even intricate and differ significantly from one country to another. Each countryhas built the system according to its goals by taking into account the participatingstakeholders. As example, the AKIS of federal and devolved countries such asGermany, Belgium and UK can face certain arrangements and modificationsaccording to the administrative division of the nation.
The public sector ofmost EU countries acts as a source of funds for the agricultural sector,supplies official information, and coordinate between the different entities.Both private and public research programs and educational institutions are incharge of ensuring the transfer of knowledge, ensuring education and providingconsultative services. There is a significant presence of the private sector inAKIS of certain EU countries acting either as independent consultants or aspart of extension services. The AKIS diagram compiles allthe potential actors and organizations and draws the connection between each entity.It helps in identifying the network that enables the exchange of agriculturalknowledge, gives an overview of the organizational structure and facilitate thedetection of gaps and missing connections. One example of such diagrams is theAKIS system in Denmark illustrated in figure….
Inthe 19th century Danish agriculture has played an important role inearning foreign currency and still considered as an important sector. TheDanish AKIS combines a strong category of farmers in rural areas whose needsare being closely followed and controlled by the advisory system. Moreover, thecollaboration between Danish farmers and agricultural research programs hasstrengthened the connections between the different organizations, hence,empowering the AKIS system of the country. The main feature of the Danish AKISis the solid network and connection created between the different entities (farmers,organization, institutions and companies). It is reported that DenmarkAKIS is well-performing with a solid connection between the different membersof the system.
Moreover, the active involvement of farmers and the bilateralconnections between farmers and the rest of the system enhances the efficiencyof the Danish AKIS. Characterisation of AKIS It can be difficult to directlycompare between the AKIS of countries due to the differences in nationalinstitutions, laws and agricultural policies. A measurement scale was definedfrom week to strong and from fragmented to integrated to typify theagricultural knowledge and information system of countries. Among the criteria that definethe strength of the AKIS of a given country are: · The efficient and potential contribution of entitiesand organizations to the AKIS system to ensure the transfer of knowledge.
· The availability of resources, funds andinvestments to enhance the exchange of information and the development ofInformation Technology. · The involvement of Farmers in the system and theevaluation of their feedback about the contribution of the concernedinstitutions. Thus, an AKIS strength relieson the compliance with different features. The integration level isdefined by the degree of correlation between the AKIS members.
The system entitiescan operate in parallel without any relevant connection with other AKISmembers, thus separate knowledge networks. This characterizes a fragmented AKISwhich usually display uncoordinated and uncooperative operating entities thatcan create conflicts within the system. An integrated AKIS is usually characterizedby corroborative and coordinated entities supported by national policies forwhich a public institution is in charge of connecting the AKIS network.
Figure…gives an overview ofsome countries according to their strength(weak to strong) and integrationlevel (fragmented to integrated). Romania, Portugal and Greece are an exampleof a weak fragmented AKIS. For such countries very low investments arededicated to the agricultural information system, in addition to uncoordinatedand uncooperative actors that hinder the development of the knowledge system. Onthe other hand a strong and integrated AKIS is reported in Denmark, Austria andIreland for which there is potential public and networking support.
Netherlands is a distinctexample of a strong yet a fragmented AKIS in which the required resources areavailable and parallel structured information systems are operating and providingthe the knowledge needs of farmers. One can conclude the eachEuropean country has different approaches in defining their AKIS andintegrating the different organizations to the system..