13th Congress Proceedings
Agrinet – Taking Technology To The Countryside
For many years, the literature concerning agricultural knowledge transfer has emphasised the importance of using processes designed around the needs of the target population, rather than those of the providers. This paper reports on the AgriNet project in South West England, whose essential feature was the use of minibuses converted into mobile computer facilities. This enabled the project team to take training in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to even the most remote rural areas in the region, parking in farmyards, pub carparks, and at village halls. Working closely with various community groups, especially Young Farmers Clubs, the project acquired another 80 laptops and created a ‘cascading’ process in parallel with its use of the buses – individuals would be trained to train others, and provided with a loaned laptop to make it possible. This paper reflects on a project which achieved more than double its targets, and raises questions about the use of project-type funding to meet endemic problems.