COSTA RICAN FARM SECTOR INFORMATION SYSTEM (INFOAGRO)
One of the most perceptible results of microelectronics and information technology has been the acceleration of a great range of processes. The creation of unlimited numbers of channels of communication has facilitated and intensified the development of information systems, and their use has contributed to the appearance of new forms of organization and competition in the context of globalization, integration of markets, and institutional change, inter alia. The use of information is a more and more influential component of these processes, which have been occurring worldwide.
Given this new reality, with accelerated change, public and private institutions and organizations have sought to develop procedures and mechanisms that will give them continuous access to information sources, in order to enhance the processes of work in all sectors of the economy.
The possibility of rapid access to innovative information systems, even from remote places, gives users important competitive advantages. These advantages are reflected in ever more efficient and effective decision-making, increased linkages among players who share interests and objectives, access to opportunities for development and changes of scale in planning and production processes, etc.
Despite these scenarios, as mentioned above, the marginalization and lag of the farm sector in particular and the rural sector in general is seen in its institutional structures, both public and private, where mechanisms and reach are obsolescent, and where there is a clear inability to develop effective mechanisms to give the farm sector and rural world a rapidity of development and growth comparable to those enjoyed by other sectors of the economy.
The lack of a system that can provide timely and reliable information for daily decision-making has restricted and held back achievements that were expected to take place in carrying out various development plans and projects. The lack has also affected the process of reconversion of production and the improvement of the efficiency of institutional structures in recent years.
This is the situation that spawned INFOAGRO, a project whose overall aims are to activate the potentials of the rural world, energizing and accelerating the process of change in its economic activity. INFOAGRO seeks to make available to its natural users the entire societal effort of the past decades in the areas of technology, policy implementation, creation of markets, international linkages, etc., all in the form of information, a strategic input that has the ability to activate the potential for modernization, change, growth and development in the farm sector and the rural world.
This is why INFOAGRO seeks, within the framework of existing farm policy, to implement and give content to the principles behind the policy, ensuring that timely and up-to-date information is available so that producers‚ organizations and rural organizations in general can construct and manage their own well-being and development in the context of market opportunities and indications, applying an appropriate decision-making process.
INFOAGRO was initially conceived as a tool for farm-sector development, focusing on providing access to up-to-date, relevant, and reliable information that would facilitate decision-making by all players. The number and make-up of the users of the information system, however, has gone beyond the sphere of farm producers as such. Other private and public institutions and organizations with a presence in the rural world have become interested in the possibilities of INFOAGRO as a tool to store, analyze and disseminate information. The reality has thus forced a conceptual redefinition of INFOAGRO‚s potential role in rural development. By doing this, the system can, in addition to supporting production in the farm sector, contribute to making health, education, planning and infrastructure resources going to the rural sector more efficient. This new scenario gives other public and private institutions and organizations that are outside the farm sector but are associated with the rural environment a participatory role in the expanded vision of INFOAGRO.
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