FADR conducts activities in (the) two general fields: information support for agribusiness and farmers, and the development and implementation of the new educational programms.
The main focus of the Foundation for Agrarian Development Research (FADR) is the information support to agricultural producers. In 1998 FADR started to implemented the Rural Information Network Project (RIN), in partnership with Developing Countries Farm Radio Network (Canada). This project aims to support agricultural reforms in Russia by providing farmers with an alternative system or mechanism of agricultural extension. It is funded through the Canadian International Development Agency.
The Project developed and implemented a system of information exchange that is unique for the developing extension system in Russia. All information provided by the Project is free of charge and available to a wide range of rural communicators and producers for re-distribution and dissemination. The system consists of the several components and includes:
· The Network of over 300 rural communicators in 59 regions of the Russian Federation. Network Members represent rural journalists and broadcasters, extension agents and educators, farmers and local government representatives.
· The web-site (www.fadr.msu.ru/rin ), that consists of the following components:
The on-line library (www.fadr.msu.ru/rin/library) where users can find a variety of materials related to agriculture and rural life. The library also includes catalogues of weeds and livestock breeds supported with pictures and weed identification charts. FADR developed the book "First Steps on the Internet" that helps new users to understand the Internet. A large proportion of the materials in the library were submitted by RIN members.
The electronic conference FADRnews (www.fadr.msu.ru/fadrnews) is a forum for agricultural producers to discuss current agricultural issues, ask (the) questions and receive advice on various agricultural topics, including legislation, enterprise management and business management.
The radio archive (www.fadr.msu.ru/rin/radio)was designed to support rural broadcasters with radio programs, describing modern agricultural practices. Today this archive consists of over 100 radio programs that were either developed by the project or submitted by Network Members.
· The radio Broadcasts that provide modern agricultural information to audiences in remote areas. The project developed a series of radio programs describing modern practices in agricultural production, business management and legislation. This series, called "Rural Internet", was broadcasted on Radio Rossia's (under) "Own Land" radio program. Along with the radio archive, the RIN project disseminated radio programs on CDs that provided additional support to rural broadcasters with limited access to the Internet.
· The rural Information Network Newsletter that was distributed among the Network Members on a quarterly basis. This Newsletter consists of a series of "Agricultural Practicums" that cover various topics related to agricultural production. A major proportion of information in this Newsletter included Network Members' materials about regional agricultural practices.
· The feedback mechanism, which facilitates effective project management. Feedback with the users of information became the "corner stone" activity of the project implementation team and allowed ongoing assessment of the appropriateness and quality of the information, users needs , and changes in practices.
· The training component was just as important as provision of information itself. Over the course of the project RIN provided training opportunities to private farmers, agricultural specialists, and Network Members. The project team shared their communication experience at a number of Russian and International conferences and seminars, roundtable discussions and meetings with farmers.
In 2000, the Canadian Agency for International Development regarded the Russian Rural Information Network project the best agricultural project.
To enable Private Farmers to increase food production and competitiveness in terms of quality and costs, RIN developed an electronic bulletin board for commercial announcements. The advantage of this bulletin board is that it combines email and web features to allow active participation for farmers with limited Internet service. The farmers who subscribe to this bulletin board (,) receive up-dates by e-mail. There are currently one hundred and eleven (111) subscribers to Agromarket with over 200000 messages submitted annually.
Agrorus is a specialized catalogue of Russian and world-wide agroresources on the Net.
Development of the catalogue, originally supported by the Eurasia Foundation, was started in 1997. Since then, Agrorus has come to be the most authoritative source of information on the agricultural resources in the Russian sector of the Internet.
"Agrorus" helps to locate russian agricultutal resources of the Internet. Flexible rubrication
of the catalogue reflects current state of russain agricultural resources on the Net.
"Agrorus" helps to locate Russian agricultural resources on the Internet. Flexible rubrication of the catalogue reflects the current state of Russian agricultural resources on the Net.
"Agrorus" is interactive: it lets any of it's users add new resources and categories to the catalogue database. It takes as little effort as (to) filling in a standard submission form. Use of the catalogue is free.
A system of distance education, developed for Moscow State University, has been in use at the Soil Science Faculty since 2000. It provides lecturers with an easy way to present their training materials on the Internet without special knowledge of web publishing. Actual writing and publishing occur simultaneously. All participants of distance learning may use either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator browsers. Due to a clear distribution of privileges they all do not need to contact the system administrator. System inter-activity is based on the opportunity of a student to address questions to a lecturer, about specific parts of a training course.
An important part of FADR activity lies in information support of ecological education.
An important part of FADR activity lies in information support of ecological education. Since 1997 FADR has supported the children's telecommunication project "Ecological Cooperation" (www.ecocoop.ru
). This is the first large-scale children's network project in Russia. This project is based on the principle of developing a widespread ecological awareness among Russian school children through the unification of numerous children's ecological projects. The network comprises 142 ecological institutions from 55 regions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The project includes a distance learning component for school children. The project Internet portal was awarded the second prize in the category "Best Internet site" of an All-Russia journalist's competition.