January 2008 marked the launch of the Cereal Knowledge Bank (CKB) (http://www.knowledgebank. irri.org), an online repository of learning materials related to cereals and cereal production. The CKB was created through the collaboration of CIMMYT and IRRI (the International Rice Research Institute).
The CKB was developed as a tool for enabling the fast and effective transfer of technologies from the researcher to the farmer’s field, a long-time challenge for those working in agricultural development. It provides a number of different extension materials related to the production of maize, rice, and wheat, together with materials on other aspects of cropping systems. Through an easy-to-navigate website, users can access extension resources in a variety of formats: fact sheets, field diagnosis and management tools, reference manuals, training materials, and eLearning courses.
An essential feature of the CKB is the development of country knowledge banks, which contain comprehensive country-specific materials collected from local research. Though they are based upon the same principles of knowledge sharing as the CKB, the country knowledge banks are directed and managed by the countries themselves, though the IRRI-CIMMYT alliance can provide guidance and technical assistance.
Further plans for CKB development include bringing the concept of country knowledge banks to Africa, diversifying formats of content (mp3, video, online user interaction), applying content management systems, and extensive impact assessment. For more information on the CKB, please contact Petr Kosina (firstname.lastname@example.org), Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building Coordinator.